ZocdocAnswersIs this a benign Atrial Flutter?

Question

Is this a benign Atrial Flutter?

For the last couple of years now, my heart has been arrhythmic every so often. It occurs randomly and the arrhythmia can occur every day for a period of around 2 months. This morning I had a bad one, my heart stopped for what seemed like 10 seconds and nearly I fell to the floor. My ability to hear anything ceased momentarily. When it started again, my face had turned beat red and my heart was beating so hard and fast that I could feel numbness in my appendages, veins in my head and around my eyes were popping out. After a few minutes, my heartbeat returned to normal, slowly I began to hear things around me, and I wasn't afraid of losing consciousness. I had seen a doctor about this, and after she said my cardiogram was normal, she told me it was benign atrial flutter. After my episode this morning, I'm not so sure.

Answer

Atrial flutter is a fairly common arrhythmia where the atrium of the heart abnormally contract to fast. It is important to speak with your cardiologist about your concerns. While there is no such diagnosis as the benign atrial flutter, your doctor probably call it benign because the atrial flutter in general is an arrhythmia that is not life-threatening. For those that have atrial flutter, there are medications that can control the rhythm or there is a procedure called an ablation which can provide fairly permanent relief. I doubt that your doctor believes that your atrial flutter and your episode of passing out are related. Atrial flutter generally does not cause people to pass out unless their heart rate gets extremely fast. Your doctor might believe that your episode of passing out was a vagal reaction which is probably the most common cause. The only way to find out is for you to undergo a long-term monitoring test. This is where your doctor hooks you up to a heart monitor for a prolonged period of time so that your rhythm can be monitored at home and compared to your symptoms. For this type of test, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with a cardiologist. He or she can review your EKGs and potentially set you up for one of these monitors so that you can determine the cause of your symptoms.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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