Difference Between Afib and Aflutter

When it comes to heart arrhythmia, it is considered an irregular heartbeat. Heart rhythm problems or simply heart arrhythmias occur when the heartbeat coordinating electrical signals fails to work properly.

Irregularity in a heartbeat is mainly due to faulty signaling. In general, by the heart rate speed, a heart arrhythmia can be grouped into bradycardia and tachycardia.

Among the classification of tachycardia, Afib and Aflutter are two of their kinds. In this article, the main focus is on differentiating Afib and Aflutter. 

Afib vs Aflutter 

The main difference between Afib and Aflutter is their causes. Viral infections, coronary artery disease, heart valve problems, and sleep apnea are the main reasons behind the Afib condition. On the other hand, the causes of Aflutter consists of chronic lung disease, non-cardiac surgery, enlarged heart chamber, and lungs blood clots. 

Afib vs Aflutter

Afib is a condition related to the heart in which abnormal or irregular heart rhythm is developed. The origination point of this irregularity is atria.

Mechanical and electrical activity in the atrium leads to irregularity, although this is unrelated to the activity of the ventricles. 

Aflutter is generally less common as well as usually secondary to an electrical pathway of abhorrent in the Atria. It would be considered more severe due to its deterioration into more threatening arrhythmias.

The Atria will tend to be beaten in Aflutter at 250 –300 bpm. 

Comparison Table Between Afib and Aflutter 

Parameters of ComparisonAfibAflutter
InterpretationIt is a condition of often rapid heart rate and irregular that usually leads to poor flow of blood.It is a condition in which heart chambers are located upside beat too quickly.
Also calledAF or Atrial fibrillationAtrial flutter
TypeChronic (be lifelong or simply last for years)Critical (needs emergency care)
Risk factorsFamily history, obesity, thyroid disease, and age.Smoking, diabetes, lung disease, and past heart attack.
ComplicationsBlood clots and heart failureHigh blood pressure and some valvular heart disease

What is Afib?

In the heart, the Afib condition can lead to blood clots. It increases the risk of failure of heart stroke and other complications related to the heart. During Afib, the atria or heart chambers can lead to beating irregularly and chaotically.   

For many people, there might be no symptoms related to Afib. This is because the episodes of Afib might come and go or just be persistent. However, it might cause weakness, shortness of breath, palpitations, or a pounding heartbeat.    

Although it is generally not life-threatening while a medical condition that is serious and to prevent stroke require proper treatment.

Seek immediate medical help in case of chest pain because it means a heart attack might occur.  Afib might be long-standing persistent, occasional, persistent, and permanent. 

Prevention is much better compared to treatment. Thus, quitting smoking and having a nutritious diet can prevent the condition of Afib. Treatment for Afib might be consisting therapy to reset the catheter procedures and heart rhythm to block faulty heart signals. 

What is Aflutter?

When Aflutter first occurs, it is generally linked with fast heart rate and grouped as a type of supraventricular tachycardia. It is characterized by an instantaneous onset usually heart rhythm as regular abnormal on an ECG in which first heart rate is mentioned.  

Although this heart rhythm as abnormal typically occurs in individuals with the disease of cardiovascular and diabetes mellitus. In people, it might occur spontaneously with otherwise normal hearts. Also, with not a stable rhythm.  

Supraventricular tachycardia with 150 beats per minute ventricular heart rate is suggestive of Aflutter. Adenosine administration in the vein can help personnel of medical differentiate between Aflutter as well as other kinds of supraventricular tachycardia.  

In 1920, Aflutter was first identified as a medical condition by the British physician, namely Sir Thomas Lewis and colleagues. Aflutter Is the most common supraventricular tachycardia of pathologic but occurs at a less rate than one-tenth of the Afib. 

Main Differences Between Afib and Aflutter 

  1. Sensations of fluttering, fast or pounding heartbeat, reduced ability to exercise, weakness, and chest pain are the symptoms of Afib. Meanwhile, symptoms of Aflutter are shortness of breath, pressure in the chest, fatigue, and dizziness.  
  2. When it comes to prevention, Afib can be prevented by limiting or avoiding caffeine and alcohol, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. Conversely, by eating a nutritious diet and quitting smoking Aflutter can be prevented.  
  3. Tests like chest X-rays, event monitor, blood tests, and stress tests are used to diagnose Afib. on the flip side, Aflutter can be diagnosed by Holter monitor, echocardiogram, electrophysiology studies, and electrocardiograms.  
  4. Medications required to treat Afib are digitalis glycosides (strengthen heart contractions) and blood thinners (prevent from forming blood clots). On contrary, calcium channel blockers (relax arterial muscles) and beta-blockers (decreasing heart rate) are medications to treat Aflutter. 
  5. Possible causes of Afib are coronary artery disease, sleep apnea, viral infections, and heart valve problems. On the other hand, non-cardiac surgery, lungs blood clots, chronic lung disease, and enlarged heart chamber are causes of Aflutter. 
Difference Between Afib and Aflutter


It can be concluded that both Afib and Aflutter are two of the types of tachycardia that come under arrhythmias. Afib Is a condition of often rapid heart rate and irregular that usually lead to poorly flow of blood.

On the flip side, Aflutter is a condition in which heart chambers are located upside beat too quickly. Heart failure and blood clots are two of the complications included in Afib.

In contrast, Aflutter complications consist of some valvular heart disease and high blood pressure.

Afib is also called AF or arterial fibrillation, whereas Aflutter is also known as arterial flutter. The risk factors of Afib are obesity, age, family history, and thyroid disease.

On the other hand, smoking, lung disease, diabetes, and past heart attack are the possible risk factors of Aflutter. Afib is a chronic type of condition which is lifelong or simply lasts for years.

On contrary, Aflutter is a critical type of condition which requires emergency care.


  1. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/circoutcomes.114.001263
  2. https://heart.bmj.com/content/94/11/1394.short
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