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Atrial flutter ablation

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 19, 2022.

Overview

Atrial flutter ablation is a procedure to create scar tissue within an upper chamber of the heart in order to block the electrical signals that cause a fluttering heartbeat.

Atrial flutter occurs when the heart's electrical signals tell the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to beat too quickly. The goal of atrial flutter ablation is to stop the irregular electrical signals and restore a typical heart rhythm.

Why it's done

Atrial flutter ablation is done to control the signs and symptoms associated with atrial flutter. Atrial flutter ablation may restore a typical heart rhythm, which may improve quality of life.

What you can expect

Atrial flutter ablation is done in the hospital. You'll likely receive a medication to help you relax (sedative).

Once the sedative takes effect, a small area near a vein, usually in your groin, is numbed.

The doctor inserts a long flexible tube (catheter) into the vein and carefully guides it into your heart.

Sensors on the tip of the catheter send electrical impulses and record the heart's electricity. This information is used to determine the best place to apply the ablation treatment.

Heat (radiofrequency energy) is applied to the target area, damaging the tissue and causing scarring. The scarring helps block the electrical signals that are causing the atrial flutter.

Atrial flutter ablation typically takes two to three hours. Afterward, you'll be taken to a recovery area where care providers will closely monitor your condition.

Depending on your condition, you may be allowed to go home the same day or you may spend a night in the hospital.

Results

After atrial flutter ablation, you'll need regular checkups to monitor your heart. Most people see improvements in their quality of life after this type of cardiac ablation, but there's a chance the atrial flutter may return. If this happens, the procedure may be repeated or you and your health care provider might consider other treatments.

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