Atrial flutter, the second most common heart rhythm problem, may develop on its own or coexist with atrial fibrillation. With their expertise in heart arrhythmias, the doctors at Naples Heart Rhythm Specialists, P.A., offer exceptional care for atrial flutter, including medication and advanced procedures that effectively stabilize your heart rate and rhythm. To get the compassionate care you deserve, call one of the three offices in Naples, Florida, or schedule an appointment online.
Atrial flutter is a type of arrhythmia that occurs when the heart’s two upper chambers, the left and right atria, beat at an exceptionally fast rate. During atrial flutter, you’ll have a steady heartbeat, but the atria can beat up to 300 times a minute.
In some patients, the heart’s two lower chambers, the ventricles, also beat more rapidly than normal. As a result, you can have a sustained heart rate of 150 beats per minute. By comparison, a normal heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute.
Atrial flutters occur when the heart’s electrical system misfires. Normally, the heart’s natural pacemaker initiates the electrical signal that triggers every heartbeat. When the signal starts in an electrical circuit other than the pacemaker, you develop an atrial flutter.
Despite your rapid heartbeat, the muscular contractions are inefficient, and blood doesn’t flow through your heart normally. This increases your risk of developing blood clots in your heart that can leave the heart, travel to your brain, and cause a stroke.
Atrial flutter most often develops in patients who have some type of heart disease or a chronic health condition that affects their heart, such as:
Your risk of developing atrial flutter may be higher if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, obesity, or an electrolyte imbalance. Additionally, atrial flutter can occur in patients diagnosed with other arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation.
The typical symptoms of atrial flutter include:
A rapid heart rate can also make you faint.
Atrial flutter is typically diagnosed with an electrocardiogram, but you may need additional diagnostic tests. For example, if your symptoms are intermittent, you may need to wear a Holter monitor, which records your heart activity for 24 hours or longer.
Treatment often includes medications to slow your heart rate and blood thinners to reduce your risk of stroke. Your doctor at Naples Heart Rhythm Specialists, P.A., may recommend a procedure to restore your normal heart rhythm, such as electrical cardioversion or catheter ablation.
Don’t wait to seek treatment for atrial flutter. Call Naples Heart Rhythm Specialists, P.A., or schedule an appointment online.