flutter of heart

Heart flutter, or what is scientifically known as atrial flutter (in English: atrial flutter) is a type of heart rhythm disorder, which is the presence of a rapid but regular heartbeat as a result of a problem in the electrical system of the heart, and in fact atrial flutter is similar to a common heart rhythm disorder known as fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation, but the heartbeat is more regular in patients with atrial flutter than in patients with atrial fibrillation, and sometimes the patient suffers from separate and alternating periods of flutter and atrial fibrillation.[1]

It should be noted that a normal individual can feel a flutter similar to the flutter of butterflies inside the chest for a second or two, as a result of anxiety or tension accompanying the completion of a hard work, or watching a horror movie, while it is considered abnormal for the feeling of heart flutter to continue for 30 seconds or more. , or the emergence of other symptoms that cause concern and refer to the doctor for the necessary medical tests for the heart and blood vessels, and these symptoms include; Dizziness, light-headedness, shortness of breath, increased sweating, chest pain,[2]heart palpitations or a strong pulse, tiredness, fainting, blurred vision,[3] chest tightness, low blood pressure, and definitely a fast heart rate,[4] There are two main types of atrial flutter: Acute atrial flutter that appears for a short period of time and then disappears, and persistent atrial flutter that lasts for several days or weeks.[5]

Heart flutter causes

The heart normally sends electrical signals that start from the sinus node in the right atrium, then move to the left atrium for these upper chambers to pump blood to the lower chambers; They are the right and left ventricles, and the electrical signal stabilizes temporarily in the atrioventricular node to allow the ventricles to fill with blood, then the signal continues its way to the ventricles to pump blood to the entire body.[4] But in the case of atrial flutter, an electrical circuit is often observed inside the right atrium, and the electrical signal revolves around it repeatedly within a specific and distinct path,[6] This leads to rapid contractions of the atria, reaching approximately 300 beats per minute. In fact, the atrioventricular node cannot conduct electrical signals at this speed, but transmits about half of them to the ventricles, bringing the speed of the ventricles to 150 beats per minute.[4] The cause of atrial flutter problem is due to the following:[5]

  • Heart diseases and problems: These include the following:
  • Diseases and physical disorders that affect the heart, including the following:
  • Taking substances that affect the conduction of cardiac electrical signals: These include the following:
  • The blood supply to the heart is cut off as a result of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, or the formation of blood clots.
  • Arterial hypertension.
  • Cardiomyopathy.
  • Heart valve abnormalities, especially the mitral valve.
  • Enlargement of one of the heart’s chambers.
  • Undergoing open heart surgery.
  • Thyroid hyperactivity.
  • Pulmonary embolism caused by a clot entering the blood vessels of the lung.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • Alcohol.
  • Cocaine.
  • Some weight loss drugs.
  • Some cold medicines.
  • caffeine

Heart flutter risk factors

There are a number of factors that make some individuals more susceptible than others to developing atrial flutter, the most important of which are the following:[6][7]

  • smoking.
  • Heart disease.
  • Previous heart attack.
  • Having high blood pressure or some lung diseases.
  • Experiencing stress, tension and anxiety.
  • Take some types of medication.
  • Having diabetes.
  • Underwent surgery in the last short period.
  • obesity;
  • Suffering from sleep apnea.
  • For sick sinus syndrome.
  • Pericarditis or endocarditis.
  • overactive thyroid;


Arrhythmia as a result of atrial flutter is considered a serious problem that requires medical intervention, due to the ease of health complications resulting from the health status of the heart.[3] Although some patients with atrial flutter do not feel any accompanying symptoms, this problem can cause health complications such as; stroke, heart failure,[1]Accelerated heartbeat that leads to insufficient blood supply to the body’s organs, low blood pressure, thromboembolism, i.e. blockage of vessels as a result of the formation of blood clots, and cardiomyopathy,[3] In fact, atrial flutter often worsens and progresses to chronic atrial fibrillation.[6]

Heart flutter treatment

The goals of treatment are to control the heart rate, restore a normal heart rhythm, prevent the recurrence of the problem later, and prevent the occurrence of stroke, and this is done by conducting the appropriate medical intervention for the diseased condition in the hospital, with the need for the patient to adhere to the medications prescribed by the doctor after discharge from the hospital The following is a statement of the most important treatments for atrial flutter.[8]

pharmacological treatments

Choosing the right medication depends on several factors, the most important of which are; The number of times the flutter occurs, the true cause of the problem, the patient’s health status, and other medications he is taking. In general, medications for the treatment of atrial flutter are divided into the following categories:[8]

  • Medications to control heart rate: These medications are considered essential in treatment; It helps reduce the rate of heartbeat to ensure that the blood is pumped more efficiently, and it includes digoxin (English: Digoxin), and beta-blockers (English: Beta blockers), such as; Metoprolol (English: Metoprolol), atenolol (English: Atenolol), and calcium channel blockers (in English: Calcium channel blockers), such as; Diltiazem (English: Diltiazem).
  • Heart rhythm medications: These drugs control rapid electrical signals to try to reach a normal heart rhythm, the most important of which are sodium channel blockers (in English: Sodium channel blockers) and potassium channel blockers (in English: Potassium channel blockers).
  • Anticoagulant drugs: These drugs reduce the ability of the blood to clot, thus reducing the possibility of heart and brain clots. Examples include: Warfarin and Rivaroxaban.

medical procedures

It includes the following procedures:[8]

  • Electrical cardioversion: Electrical cardioversion is done by anesthetizing the patient completely, then attaching electrodes to the chest area and sometimes to the back, after which the patient’s body is given an electrical shock that helps restore the rhythm The heart rate is normal, and the patient usually goes home the same day.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: Radiofrequency ablation follows the cardiac catheter ablation method; Where the doctor uses a thin and flexible tube to be inserted from a blood vessel in the thigh or neck area, and directs its path until it reaches the heart, then radial waves are sent aimed at destroying the cells that cause the arrhythmia, thus restoring normal rhythms.

the reviewer

  1. ^ AP Mayo Clinic Staff (15-7-2017), “Atrial flutter”, www.mayoclinic.org, Retrieved 18-2-2019. Edited.
  2. ↑ “WHAT ARE THOSE BUTTERFLIES IN YOUR CHEST?”, www.virtua.org, 6-19-2017, Retrieved 18-2-2019. Edited.
  3. ^ APT Charles Patrick Davis (27-3-2018), “Atrial Flutter Symptoms, Causes, ECG, and Treatments”, www.medicinenet.com, Retrieved 18-2-2019. Edited.
  4. ^ APT Joseph Bennington (7-21-2016), “What Is Atrial Flutter?”, www.everydayhealth.com, Retrieved 18-2-2019. Edited.
  5. ^ AP Noel G Boyle (10-1-2019), “Atrial Flutter”, www.emedicinehealth.com, Retrieved 18-2-2019. Edited.
  6. ^ AP Richard N. Fogoros (11-7-2018), “What Are the Symptoms of Atrial Flutter?”, www.verywellhealth.com, Retrieved 18-2-2019. Edited.
  7. ↑ The Healthline Editorial Team (23-3-2017), “Atrial Flutter”, www.healthline.com, Retrieved 18-2-2019. Edited.
  8. ^ a b c James Beckerman (14-5-2018), “Atrial Flutter”, www.webmd.com, Retrieved 18-2-2019. Edited.

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Writing – on the date : – Last updated: 2022-05-19 10:09:01