Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart conditions (cardiologists), cardiologists trained in heart rhythm disorders (electrophysiologists) and other doctors evaluate and treat people who have atrial flutter and related conditions.

To diagnose your condition, your doctor will discuss your symptoms and your medical and family history, and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may order several tests to determine the cause and severity of your condition and determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

  • Blood tests. Blood tests may be used to check your potassium and thyroid hormone levels in your blood, which may lead to atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation.
  • Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray takes images of your chest, heart and lungs, which may help your doctor to see if your heart is enlarged.
  • Echocardiogram (Doppler echocardiogram). In this test, sound waves create detailed images of your heart's size, structure and motion.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). In an ECG, doctors place sensor patches (electrodes) on your skin to measure the electrical impulses given off by your heart. An ECG measures the timing and rhythm of each electrical phase in your heartbeat.
  • Event recorder. An event recorder is a portable ECG device that you can activate when you experience symptoms.
  • Holter monitor. A Holter monitor is a portable ECG device that you wear for a day or more to record your heart's electrical activity during your daily routine.
  • Stress test. In a stress test, doctors monitor your heart using an ECG or other tests as you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. If you have difficulty exercising, your doctor may give you a drug to help stimulate your heart in a similar way as during exercise.
Mar. 17, 2011