Features May 2016 Issue

Atrial Flutter: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Palpitations That Linger

An EKG can reveal the highly rapid heartbeats of someone experiencing atrial flutter.

Atrial Flutter: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Palpitations That Linger

If you feel your heart racing for extended periods, you should seek medical attention. It could be atrial flutter, a serious heart rhythm problem.

Atrial fibrillation (afib) is a common heart rhythm disturbance that gets a lot of attention in Heart Advisor and other sources. And rightfully so, since the condition affects almost one out of every 10 adults in the U.S., age 65 and older. But you should also be aware of a similar condition, called atrial flutter. Like afib, atrial flutter is a problem with the heartís electrical system. But unlike afib, which involves the chaotic beating of the heartís upper chambers (atria), atrial flutter means the atria beat extraordinarily fast, but in a steady, non-chaotic manner.

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