Dr. Sanjiv M. Narayan serves as a professor of medicine and the director of the Stanford Arrhythmia Center at Stanford University. Over the course of his career, Dr. Sanjiv Narayan’s research on atrial fibrillation has been cited in multiple studies pertaining to the condition and related disorders, such as atrial flutter.
Atrial flutter is a cardiac abnormality wherein the upper chambers of the heart beat too fast, causing muscles in the area to contract and fall out of sync with the heart’s lower chambers. The heart beats an average of 250 to 400 times per minute, as opposed to the healthy rate of 60 to 100. Compared to atrial fibrillation, the rapid heartbeat occurs in a regular, more organized manner and appears as a sawtooth pattern on electrocardiogram tests.
Because the rapid heartbeat stays at a steady pace for people with atrial flutter, some individuals will not notice any symptoms. Those who do may experience shortness of breath, chest discomfort, heart palpitations, fainting, and dizziness or lightheadedness. While not life-threatening, the condition can potentially lead to more series complications if left untreated. For instance, it increases the risk for blood clots, which can in turn cause stroke or heart failure.