The goal of treating atrial flutter is to slow down the electrical impulses that are sent from the atria (upper chamber of the heart) to the ventricles (lower chamber of the heart), restore normal rhythm, and prevent future episodes. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Pharmacologic (Medication) Therapy
Medication may be given to slow the rapid heart rate and convert the atrial flutter to a normal rhythm. These medications may include:
- Beta-blockers (eg, metoprolol)
- Nonhydropyridine calcium channel antagonists (eg, diltiazem, verapamil)
Other medications called antiarrhythmics may be used to help your heart maintain a normal rhythm:
- Sotalol (Betapace)
- Propafenone (Rythmol)
- Flecainide (Tambecor)
- Amiodarone (Cordarone)
- Dofetilide (Tikosyn)
- Ibutilide (Corvert)
An external defibrillator is applied to the chest, and uses electrical current to “shock” the heart back to its normal rhythm.
For patients with recurrent atrial flutter that cannot be controlled with medications, ablation can be performed during the course of an EP study. Using the same catheters, an area of the heart from which an abnormal electrical rhythm is generated can be destroyed. This can be curative for atrial flutter.
When atrial flutter is recurrent, blood thinners (warfarin) are an important therapy to prevent blood clots that can cause strokes or other serious complications.
If you are diagnosed with atrial flutter, follow your doctor's instructions .