Treatment at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Doctors trained in heart conditions (cardiologists), heart rhythm disorders (electrophysiologists), heart surgery (cardiovascular surgeons) and other doctors collaborate to develop the most appropriate treatment plan for your condition.

Your doctor will determine your treatment based on your symptoms and condition. Atrial flutter treatment goals include restoring your heart to a normal rhythm, regulating your heart rate and preventing blood clots.

Your treatment may include several options.

  • Cardioversion. In cardioversion, your doctor may use paddles or patches on your chest to electrically shock your heart and help restore your heart's normal rhythm. Doctors also may use drugs to stop your heart's fast rhythm and restore a normal rhythm.
  • Catheter radiofrequency ablation. In catheter radiofrequency ablation, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube (catheter) in a vein in your arm or groin and threads it through your blood vessels to your heart. Your doctor then applies heat (radiofrequency energy) through the catheter to destroy the abnormal heart tissue. Your doctor sometimes may conduct atrioventricular (AV) node ablation. In this procedure, doctors use radiofrequency energy to destroy the electrical connection between the upper and lower heart chambers (AV node), blocking the heart's electrical impulses. Once the AV node is destroyed, doctors then implant a small medical device (pacemaker) to establish a normal heart rhythm.
  • Medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications to control your heart rate or heart rhythm, or to prevent blood clots.
  • Pacemakers. Your doctor may place a pacemaker under your skin near your collarbone to help regulate your heartbeat.
  • Surgery. If other treatment isn't effective, your doctor may recommend maze heart surgery to disrupt the electrical signals causing the atrial flutter. In this procedure, your surgeon makes small cuts in your upper heart chamber (atrium) to help stop the disorganized electrical signals causing your condition.
  • Follow-up care. You'll need follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your heart rhythm and rate.
Mar. 17, 2011