Atrial Flutter is associated with atrial fibrillation, some patients have both and they are both associated with a risk of thrombus formation and thromboembolism.
Atrial Flutter has two different types;
Type one- is anatomically and electrically, that is always disturbed by atrial pacing with beats from 240 – 350 per minute.
Type two- is associated with atrial rates above 350 beats per minute.
Atrial Flutter is common during the first week of heart surgery and its prevalence increases with age. It is common in men and much less common than atrial fibrillation.
Atrial Flutter Symptoms – people who suffer with Atrial Flutter often complain of tiredness or a shortness of breath, the arrhythmia is usually persistent, even though the patient will experience palpitations, they are not always prominent.
Atrial Flutter Causes – Atrial Flutter is common in patients who suffer from heart failure or high blood pressure. Atrial Flutter arises from the right side of the heart in the upper chamber; electricity circulates around this at a very fast rate which drives the main pumping chamber called the ventricles.
Atrial Flutter Treatments- there are several treatments involved with treating Atrial Flutter;
• Avoiding caffeine and alcohol can be is a good start.
• Agents used to thin the blood to protect against blood clots and strokes
• Beta blockers or digoxin to help slow the heart rate
• An electric shock across the heart (cardio version) to help restore a natural rhythm, which is done under a general anesthetic, although this is an effective method it is only temporary. Atrial Flutter does tend to return.
• There is one option that has a 90% success rate; this procedure is called radiofrequency ablation, which is effective in the elimination of arrhythmia. However, the side effects of this particular procedure could mean the patient would need a pacemaker. Many patients who have Atrial Flutter also suffer with atrial fibrillation, which comes from the left side of the heart and is more complex than Atrial Flutter.
An ECG, a chest X-ray and an echocardiogram (ultrasound scan) would be carried out when Atrial Flutter is suspected in a patient.
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