Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment anticoagulation cardioversion catheter ablation drugs questions for doctor specialist Home Care diet pulse check warning signs Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Flutter Atrial Home Care

Home care for atrial flutter includes:

  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid exposure to secondary smoke
  • Eat a healthy heart diet:
    • Limit your intake of fat to 30% of your total calories.
    • 10% to 15% of your total calories should be in the form of monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil.
    • Low cholesterol diet.
    • Low salt diet.
    • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fats
  • If you have been prescribed medications to control high cholesterol, so not skip doses.
  • Follow an exercise plan developed with your doctor
  • Weight loss if you are overweight.
  • Take any prescribed heart medications as directed:
  • Learn how to take your blood pressure.
  • Check your blood pressure every day:
    • Keep a log of your results.
  • If you have diabetes:
  • Learn how to take your own pulse.
    • Notify your doctor if your heart rate is high or irregular
  • Control chronic stress and anxiety
  • Let your doctor know if you are suffering from severe or prolonged depression.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Avoid stimulants:

Flutter Atrial Diet

People with atrial flutter should follow a healthy diet to reduce the risk of other heart complications.

A healthy diet includes:

  • Control calories:
    • Eat just enough calories to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat quality fats:
    • Use virgin olive oil and other unsaturated, low-cholesterol fats.
    • Eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eat the right amount of fats, carbohydrates and protein:
    • Limit your fat intake to 20 or 30 percent, but don't substitute simple carbohydrates for fat.
    • Less than 7% of the day's total calories from saturated fat.
    • Up to 10% of the day's total calories from polyunsaturated fat.
    • Up to 20% of the day's total calories from monounsaturated fat
  • Avoid fad diets:
    • Eat a well-rounded diet instead.
    • Eat small, frequent meals.
    • Avoid large and heavy meals.
  • Limit cholesterol in diet:
    • To less than 200 milligrams a day.
  • Limit iron intake:
  • Eat enough dietary fiber:
    • Whole grains are best.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Reduce salt in your diet
    • Optimal: no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
  • Check with your doctor about supplementing your diet with B vitamins:

Flutter Atrial Pulse Check

If you have an atrial flutter, it is important to learn how monitor your pulse at home.

The pulse may be taken in a few locations, but the most commonly used location is the wrist.

Locations for Taking a Pulse

  • Wrist: the radial artery is located in the wrist crease, on the thumb-side. This is an excellent place to measure the pulse.
  • Neck: the carotid artery lies on either side of the Adam's apple, just in front of the large muscle in the neck. Check the pulse on one side only: never press on both carotid arteries at the same time.
  • Elbow: the brachial artery is located in the elbow crease, on the inner aspect of the elbow, next to the bicep tendon.
  • Groin: the femoral artery is located in the crease between the thigh and the abdomen, halfway between the pubic hair and the hip.
  • Ankle: the posterior tibial artery is located on the inside of the ankle, right behind the prominent bone, called the medial malleolus, on the inside aspect of the ankle.

In order to feel the pulse, place the tips of your index and middle fingers over the artery, and then press gently. Do not obstruct the flow through the vessel.

Interpreting Pulse Results
Count the number of pulsations that occur over 20 seconds, and then multiply this number by three. The result is the heart rate, or number of heartbeats per minute.

When measuring the pulse, try to assess the rate and the rhythm. Take note of an unsteady rhythm or extra beats. Report a rapid heart rate or extra beats to your doctor.

Normal Values for Resting Pulse
Age RangeAverage Beats Per Minute
1 month120-130
6 months120-130
1-2 years110-120
2-3 years100-110
4-5 years95-105
6-8 years90-100
10-12 years85-95
14 years75-85

Flutter Atrial Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have atrial flutter and any of the following:

Normal Values for Resting Pulse
Age RangeAverage Beats Per Minute
1 month120-130
6 months120-130
1-2 years110-120
2-3 years100-110
4-5 years95-105
6-8 years90-100
10-12 years85-95
14 years75-85

Continue to Flutter Atrial Complications

Last Updated: Nov 17, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Flutter Atrial References
  1. Ghali WA, Wasil BI, Brant R, Exner DV, Cornuz J. Atrial flutter and the risk of thromboembolism: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2005 Feb;118(2):101-7. [15694889]
  2. Lee KW, Yang Y, Scheinman MM; University of Califoirnia-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA. Atrial flutter: a review of its history, mechanisms, clinical features, and current therapy. Curr Probl Cardiol. 2005 Mar;30(3):121-67. [15711509]
  3. Mead GE, Flapan AD, Elder AT. Electrical cardioversion for atrial fibrillation and flutter. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD002903. [11869642]
  4. Waldo AL. Mechanisms of atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation: distinct entities or two sides of a coin? Cardiovasc Res. 2002 May;54(2):217-29. [12062328]
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