Atrial Flutter

Atrial flutter is a condition in which the top chambers of the heart (the atria) are beating exceedingly fast. This occurs when there is a “short circuit”, often circulating around the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart.  This makes the top chambers quiver, instead of beating effectively.  In general, all of the electrical impulses in the atria are not conducted to the bottom chambers (the ventricles), but instead they are transmitted to the bottom chamber in an irregular manner and often yield heart rates of more than 100 bpm. This condition can predispose someone to strokes (as blood can pool in the top chambers which are not beating effectively).  This  condition can also cause feelings of shortness of breath and dizziness.  If the ventricles beat fast enough for a prolonged period of time can cause a weakening of the heart muscle, which is called a cardiomyopathy.  
If the Atrial flutter circulates around the tricuspid valve (called typical atrial flutter) it is usually treated with a treatment called an ablation which eliminates the short circuit, and decreases the likelihood of progression to atrial fibrillation.
© 2015 Doctor Joshua Balog