Diagnosing Atypical Flutter in the Post-atrial Fibrillation Ablation Patient: A Case Report

Alexandra Nicole Fuher, Ryan Borne, John Cunningham

Producción científica: Articlerevisión exhaustiva


Introduction: Late atrial arrhythmias after catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation occur in up to 30% of post-ablation patients and are increasingly encountered by emergency physicians. However, diagnosing the exact mechanism of the arrhythmia on the surface electrocardiogram (ECG) remains challenging due to atrial scarring leading to heterogeneous P-wave morphology. Case Report: A 74-year-old male with a history of prior catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation presented with palpitations and subacute symptoms of heart failure. The patient’s ECG revealed narrow complex tachycardia with more P waves than QRS complexes. The differential diagnosis included typical flutter, atypical flutter, and focal atrial tachycardias with 2:1 conduction block. P waves were positive in V1 and across all precordial leads (absent precordial transition). This favors atypical flutter originating from the left atrium over typical cavotricuspid isthmus-dependent right atrial flutter. Transthoracic echocardiogram showed a reduced ejection fraction due to tachycardia-mediated cardiomyopathy. The patient underwent a repeat electrophysiology study and ablation, which confirmed the presence of an atypical flutter circuit using the mitral annulus, known as perimitral flutter. Repeat catheter ablation resulted in maintenance of sinus rhythm. At follow-up, his ejection fraction recovered. Conclusion: Recognizing ECG findings suggestive of atypical flutter impacts initial emergency department decisions and triage as atypical flutter post-atrial fibrillation ablation is frequently resistant to rate-controlling medications and often requires cardiology and/or electrophysiology consultation if available. [Clin Pract Cases Emerg Med. 2023;7(2):106–109].

Idioma originalEnglish (US)
Páginas (desde-hasta)106-109
Número de páginas4
PublicaciónClinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine
EstadoPublished - 2023
Publicado de forma externa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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