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Atrial flutter ablation


Atrial flutter ablation is a treatment for a rapid, fluttering heartbeat. It uses heat energy to create tiny scars in an upper chamber of the heart. Heart signals can't pass through the scars. So the scars block the faulty electrical signals that cause the irregular heartbeat.

Atrial flutter is a type of heart rhythm disorder. It happens when the heart's electrical signals tell the upper heart chambers, called the atria, to beat too quickly.

Why it's done

Atrial flutter ablation is done to control the symptoms of atrial flutter. Atrial flutter ablation helps reset the heart's rhythm, which may improve quality of life.

What you can expect

Atrial flutter ablation is done in a hospital. A member of your healthcare team places an IV into your forearm or hand. Medicine called a sedative goes through the IV. The medicine helps you feel relaxed.

You may be fully awake or lightly sedated. Or you may be given a combination of medicines to put you in a sleep-like state. This is called general anesthesia.

The doctor inserts a long, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel, usually in the groin. The doctor guides the tube to the proper area of the heart.

Sensors on the tip of the catheter send signals and record the heart's electricity. Your doctor uses this information to learn where to apply the ablation treatment in the heart.

Then heat energy, called radiofrequency energy, is used to create small scars in the upper chambers of the heart. The scarring blocks the electrical signals that cause atrial flutter.

Atrial flutter ablation typically takes 2 to 3 hours. After the treatment, you're taken to a recovery area. Your healthcare team closely checks on you.

Depending on your overall health, you may go home the same day or you may spend a night in the hospital.


After atrial flutter ablation, you need regular health checkups. Most people see improvements in their quality of life after this type of cardiac ablation. But sometimes the irregular heartbeat comes back. If this happens, you may another ablation or other heart treatments.

Content Last Updated: 05-Apr-2024
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