Atrial Flutter

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

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.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Even with treatment, you may have more episodes of atrial flutter. Treatment may fail to control your symptoms, and you may need to return for different treatment. Atrial flutter increases your risk for heart failure or other heart conditions. An irregular heartbeat could lead to a life-threatening blood clot or stroke.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

Medicines:

  • Antiarrhythmics help slow your heartbeat and make it more normal.

  • Beta-blockers help keep your heartbeat in a regular rhythm.

  • Calcium channel blockers help slow your heartbeat.

  • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.

Monitoring:

  • Pulse oximetry measures how much oxygen is in your blood.

  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rate and rhythm.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests check for infection, thyroid function, and potassium and calcium levels.

  • A chest x-ray checks for infection or others problems in your heart and lungs.

  • An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound. Sound waves are used to show the structure and function of your heart.

  • Electronic mapping records the rate and rhythm and maps the electrical pathways of your heart. It is used to find the cause of your heart problems.

Treatment:

  • Cardioversion is a procedure to return your heart rate and rhythm to normal. This is done with medicine or an electrical shock.

  • Cardiac ablation is a procedure that uses heat energy to correct your irregular heartbeat. Ask for more information about cardiac ablation.

  • Surgery may be needed to put in a pacemaker or an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). These will help control your heart rate and rhythm.

© 2014 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.

Learn more about Atrial Flutter (Inpatient Care)

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