Atrial flutter is an abnormal cardiac rhythm characterized by rapid, regular atrial depolarizations at a characteristic rate of approximately 300 beats/min and a regular ventricular rate of about 150 beats/min in patients not taking atrioventricular (AV) nodal blockers. It can lead to symptoms of palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, or lightheadedness, as well as an increased risk of atrial thrombus formation that may cause cerebral and/or systemic embolization. Atrial flutter occurs in many of the same situations as atrial fibrillation, which is much more common.
Atrial flutter is similar to atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder. However, the rhythm in your atria is more organized and less chaotic in atrial flutter than are the abnormal patterns common with atrial fibrillation. Sometimes you may have periods of both atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation.
The most important studies on the epidemiology of AF carried out in developed countries and published between the end of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st century estimated that the prevalence of AF ranged between 0.5% and 1%. In particular, for Iceland, the mean increase of AF prevalence in the global population is 0.04% per year (data for the period 1998–2008), with a mean increase of 0.12% and 0.07% per year, respectively, in men and women aged 65–74 years, 0.27% and 0.23% in those aged 75–84 years, and 2.8% and 0.27% in those older than 84 years.