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Atrial Flutter

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Atrial Flutter (Aftercare Instructions) Care Guide

Atrial flutter is an irregular heartbeat. It reduces your heart's ability to pump blood, which means you do not get enough oxygen. An irregular heartbeat could lead to a life-threatening blood clot or stroke.


INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Heart medicines help control your heart rate and rhythm.

  • Anticoagulants are a type of blood thinner medicine that helps prevent clots. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. These medicines may cause you to bleed or bruise more easily.

    • Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth and a soft toothbrush. If you shave, use an electric razor. Avoid activities that can cause bruising or bleeding.

    • Tell your primary healthcare provider (PHP) about all medicines you take because many medicines cannot be used with anticoagulants. Do not start or stop any medicines unless your PHP tells you to. Tell your dentist and other caregivers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.

    • You will need regular blood tests so your PHP can decide how much medicine you need. Take anticoagulants exactly as directed. Tell your PHP right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.

    • If you take warfarin, some foods can change how your blood clots. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, grapes, and other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you take warfarin.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your cardiologist as directed:

You will need to have blood tests and other tests on a regular basis. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage atrial flutter:

  • Know your target heart rate. Learn how to take your pulse and monitor your heart rate.

  • Control your blood pressure. Take your blood pressure medicine as directed.

  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk for heart problems and blood clots. Ask for more information if you need help quitting.

  • Limit alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

  • Eat heart-healthy foods. Heart-healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Replace butter and margarine with heart-healthy oils such as olive oil and canola oil.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your PHP how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.

Contact your cardiologist if:

  • Your heart rate is higher or lower than your cardiologist says it should be.

  • You are bruising and bleeding more easily.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:

    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face

    • Weakness in an arm or leg

    • Confusion or difficulty speaking

    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss

  • You have signs of a blood clot:

    • You feel lightheaded, are short of breath, and have chest pain.

    • You cough up blood.

    • You have swelling, redness, pain, or warmth in your arm or leg.

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:

    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns

    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm

    • Trouble breathing

    • Nausea or vomiting

    • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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