Dr. Sanjiv M. Narayan directs both the electrophysiology research program and the atrial fibrillation program at Stanford University. From 2002 to 2017, Dr. Sanjiv Narayan has published papers that analyzed cardiac rhythm patterns in patients with atrial fibrillation and flutter.
A person’s heartbeat stems from activity in the sinoatrial (SA) node, a structure located in the right atrium of the heart. The Sino-atrial node generates an impulse that travels through the heart, pausing for a moment at the atrioventricular (AV) node to allow the blood to move from the top half of the heart to the bottom.
In the case of atrial flutter, a specific organized type of abnormality develops in the pathway that the electrical impulse follows. This causes the impulse to travel in a circular motion, which makes the atria of the heart beat more rapidly than the ventricles.
A heart with atrial flutter cannot pump blood as effectively as it should. Insufficient blood flow can then cause vital organs to receive insufficient oxygen and nutrients, which may lead to organ failure. There is also a risk of heart attack, stroke, and congestive heart failure.