What is it?

Atrial flutter is a regular rapid heartbeat, caused by a rapid contractility of the chambers (atria). Tachycardia is a condition in which the heart beats more than 100 times per minute. During flutter, the heart rate is between 250-400 beats per minute. Atrial flutter could lead to blood clots, and increase the risk for stroke and heart failure. An episode may cause no symptoms or it could also cause a fast heartbeat, palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. Episodes of flutter may either be occasional (paroxysmal), which lasts usually between hours to days, or persistent- when the heart rhythm does not go back on its own. Risk factors may include older age, coronary artery disease, different heart conditions, congenital heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, alcohol misuse, long-term lung disease, and diabetes.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Paroxysmal atrial flutter

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of atrial flutter include fast heart beat, palpitations, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and sweating.


Diagnosis of atrial flutter is based upon medical history, physical examination, ECG, holter monitor, echocardiogram, stress test, chest X-ray and blood tests to rule out other conditions.


Treatment depends on the duration of the symptoms and may involve medications such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, digoxin, anti- arrhythmic medications and blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke. Other treatments include cardioversion, which is a therapy used to reset the heart rhythm, by sending electric shock to the heart or by drugs and surgery or catheter procedure.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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