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Atrial Flutter

Atrial Flutter

What is atrial flutter?

Because of the right atrium’s shape, the electrical impulses can travel repeatedly and quickly around and around usually in a counter clockwise circle. These inappropriate, fast electrical impulses can cause the atria to beat very fast, often around 300 bpm (beats per minute).

Remember that the AV node regulates the impulses that get through to the ventricles. As a result, only about half of these fast impulses in the atria may be conducted through to the ventricles.

Therefore, if you are in atrial flutter with an atrial rate of 300 bpm, you may have a pulse or heart rate (ventricular rate) of around 150 bpm.

Atrial flutter is a kind of arrhythmia, meaning the heart is beating out of its normal rhythm. Other, less common atrial flutter types include:

  • clockwise right atrial flutter
  • mitral valve flutter (left atrium)
  • left atrial roof flutter

Current as of: May 15, 2018

Author: Cardiac Arrhythmia Services, Alberta Health Services