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Welcome, medical contents search April 25, 2013
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Atrial Flutter

more about Atrial Flutter

  • This is an abnormal heartbeat in which the atrial portion of the heart beats at 250-350 beats/minute.  The rate transmitted to the ventricular portion is less, transmitted at a ratio defined by the atrial rate.  For example, there may be one ventricular contraction for every, two atrial contractions (i.e., if the atrial rate is 300, the ventricular rate will be 150 if the flutter rate is 2:1).

  • Heart racing
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness

  • Pulse rate is faster in even ratios, than that heard over the heart with a stethoscope.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) shows classic "flutter" waves.
  • A chest X-Ray or Echocardiogram may be performed to look for an underlying cause.

  • Acute (rapid onset) atrial flutter-the medication Ibutilide converts 50-70% of the cases back to sinus rhythm.  Electrical cardioversion (synchronized) is very effective at low energy doses.
  • Chronic (long-standing) atrial flutter -- electrical cardioversion (synchronized) is effective at low doses, but the individual should be anticoagulated (placed on the blood thinner Coumadin) beforehand, because another heart arrythmia known as atrial fibrillation may be occurring intermittently.  Atrial fibrillation can cause the build up of blood clots on the heart valves and in the atrium of the heart.  After cardioversion (without blood thinners to prevent them) the clots may be released and go to the brain and cause a stroke.

  • Seek immediate emergency medical treatment (call 911 in the U.S.)

  • Sinus tachycardia
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Ventricular tachycardia

more about Atrial Flutter

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