Simultaneous Occurrence of Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter

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Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, ISSN: 1045-3873, Vol: 11, Issue: 8, Page: 849-858

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Horvath, George; Goldberger, Jeffrey J.; Kadish, Alan H.
Wiley-Blackwell; Futura Pub.; Touro Scholar
Medicine; animals; atrial fibrillation; atrial flutter; humans; Animals; Atrial Fibrillation; Atrial Flutter; Humans; Cardiovascular Diseases
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Simultaneous Atrial Fibrillation and Flutter. Introduction: Early reports suggested that some patients with 'atrial fibrillation/flutter' might have atrial fibrillation in one atrium and atrial flutter in the other. However, more recent conceptions of atrial fibrillation/flutter postulate that the pattern is due to a relatively organized (type I) form of atrial fibrillation. We report the occurrence and ECG manifestations of simultaneous atrial fibrillation and flutter in patients undergoing attempted catheter ablation of atrial flutter. Methods and Results: In patients undergoing radiofrequency ablation for atrial flutter, an attempt was made to entrain atrial flutter by pacing in the right atrium. The arrhythmias observed occurred following attempts at entrainment, or spontaneously in one case. Twelve transient episodes of simultaneous atrial fibrillation and flutter were observed in five patients. The atrial fibrillation was localized to all or a portion of one atrium, during which the other atrium maintained atrial flutter. In each case, the surface 12-lead ECG reflected the right atrial activation pattern. No patients had interatrial or intra-atrial conduction block during sinus rhythm, suggesting functional intra-atrial block as a mechanism for simultaneous atrial fibrillation/flutter. Conclusion: In certain patients, the occurrence of transient, simultaneous atrial fibrillation and flutter is possible. In contrast to prior studies in which it was suggested that left atrial or septal activation determines P wave morphology, the results of the present study show that P wave morphology is determined by right atrial activation. Functional interatrial block appears to be a likely mechanism for this phenomenon.