14 Facts About Atrial flutter


Atrial flutter is a common abnormal heart rhythm that starts in the atrial chambers of the heart.

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Atrial flutter is characterized by a sudden-onset regular abnormal heart rhythm on an electrocardiogram in which the heart rate is fast.

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Similar to the abnormal heart rhythm atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter leads to poor contraction of the atrial chambers of the heart.

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Atrial flutter can be treated more definitively with a technique known as catheter ablation.

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Atrial flutter was first identified as an independent medical condition in 1920 by the British physician Sir Thomas Lewis and colleagues.

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In rare situations, atrial flutter associated with a fast heart rate persists for an extended period of time without being corrected to a normal heart rhythm and leads to a tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy.

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Typically initiated by a premature electrical impulse arising in the atria, atrial flutter is propagated due to differences in refractory periods of atrial tissue.

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Typical atrial flutter is recognized on an electrocardiogram by presence of characteristic "flutter waves" at a regular rate of 200 to 300 beats per minute.

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Type I flutter is further divided into two subtypes, known as counterclockwise atrial flutter and clockwise atrial flutter depending on the direction of current passing through the loop.

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Atypical atrial flutter rarely occurs in people who have not undergone previous heart surgery or previous catheter ablation procedures.

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Atypical atrial flutter originating from the right atrium and heart's septum have been described.

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In general, atrial flutter should be managed in the same way as atrial fibrillation.

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However, atrial flutter is more resistant to correction with such medications than atrial fibrillation.

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Atrial flutter is considerably more sensitive to electrical direct current cardioversion than atrial fibrillation, with a shock of only 20 to 50 Joules commonly being enough to cause a return to a normal heart rhythm.

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