AFib vs Atrial Flutter: Difference and Comparison

Arrhythmia is of two different types. Atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation are both those types of arrhythmias. Both of them have a common occurrence. They occur when there are some issues with the electrical signals in your heart. The signals are those that make your heart contract.

This basically occurs when those signal is going at a much faster pace than the usual ones. The biggest and main difference among these is how those electrical signals that are now moving fast are organized.

Normally in AFib, the rhythm of the heart is about 100-175 bpm. But in this case, it ranges too much higher than this. The pace of heartbeat in atrial flutter is as fast as about 300 bpm out of all the beats, only a second beat gets through the ventricle.

Key Takeaways

  1. AFib and atrial flutter are both types of arrhythmia, but they have different characteristics.
  2. AFib is irregular and rapid, while atrial flutter is regular and fast.
  3. AFib is more common than an atrial flutter, and both can lead to serious health issues if left untreated.

AFib vs Atrial Flutter

Atrial Flutter is a less severe heart condition compared to Afib. Symptoms of Atrial Flutter are less severe compared to Afib. Unlike Afib, Atrial Flutter has more chances of getting cured. AFib is more commonly found in people compared to Atrial Flutter despite being more severe.

AFib vs Atrial Flutter
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In the arrhythmia AFib, there are dissimilarities in the pace of electrical signals in the upper two chambers of your heart, that is, atria. The signals move faster than their usual pace.

The atria basically lose coordination with the bottom two chambers of the heart, that is, the ventricles. All of this makes a quite rapid and irregular rhythm of the heart.

In atrial flutter, the disconnection of signals in the heart is quite like atrial fibrillation. Only the signals are quite organized and not much chaotic. The heart’s upper two chambers, that is, the atria, beat faster than the lower two chambers of the heart, the ventricles.

The pace is as fast as about 300 bpm out of all the beats, only a second beat gets through the ventricle.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonAFibAtrial Flutter
Electrical pulsesThe electrical pulses are quite chaotic.The pulses are organized
CommonThe happening of AFib is quite common among patients.The happening of atrial flutter is not that common, even if there is a previous record of heart problems.
Ablation therapyAblation therapy is not that successful in AFib.Ablation therapy is more successful and applicable for people with atrial flutter.
SymptomsSymptoms of AFib are quite severe.Symptoms are not that severe.
ECGThe ECG shows an irregular pattern of ventricular rate.In the ECG, there is a pattern of SAWTOOTH.

What is AFib?

In the arrhythmia AFib, there are dissimilarities in the pace of electrical signals in the upper two chambers of your heart, that is, atria. The signals move faster than their usual pace.

The atria basically lose coordination with the bottom two chambers of the heart, that is, the ventricles. All of this makes a quite rapid and irregular rhythm of the heart. Normally in AFib, the rhythm of the heart is about 100-175 bpm. But in this case, it ranges too much higher than this.

A few factors majorly affect the happening of AFib, and they previously happen heart attacks, high blood pressure because of hypertension, any of the major heart diseases, abnormalities in the valves of the heart, and congenital disabilities can also be one of the causes of AFib.

What is Atrial Flutter?

In atrial flutter, the disconnection of signals in the heart is quite like atrial fibrillation. Only the signals are quite organized and not much chaotic. The heart’s upper two chambers, that is, the atria, beat faster than the lower two chambers of the heart, the ventricles.

The pace is as fast as about 300 bpm out of all the beats, only a second beat gets through the ventricle. Treatment of both AFib and atrial flutter are quite the same. It includes restoring the previous and normal heart rhythm and preventing the heart from any sort of clots.

A few major factors that affect the happening of atrial flutter are any recent heart surgery, any serious infection, previously happened heart attack, congenital disability, misuse of alcohol or drugs in high amounts, and diabetes.

Main Differences Between AFib and Atrial Flutter

  1. The main difference between AFib and Atrial flutter is that the electrical pulses are quite chaotic, while the pulses are organized
  2. The happening of AFib is quite common among patients, but the happening of atrial flutter is not that common even if there is a previous record of heart problems.
  3. Ablation therapy is not that successful in AFib, while ablation therapy is more successful and applicable for people with atrial flutter.
  4. Symptoms of AFib are quite severe, but symptoms in atrial flutter are not that severe.
  5. The ECG shows an irregular pattern of ventricular rate in AFib, while in atrial flutter, the ECG there is a pattern of SAWTOOTH.
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022522319367236
  2. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/01.res.74.5.882

Last Updated : 05 August, 2023

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