Difference Between Afib and Aflutter (With Table)

Arrhythmia refers to a condition of having irregular heart rhythm. It occurs when the electrical signals in the heart don’t coordinate the heartbeat causing the upper chamber(atria) to beat too fast.  The two most common types of Arrhythmia are Atrial Flutter, (Aflutter) and Atrial fibrillation (Afib).

Afib vs Aflutter

The main difference between Atrial Flutter (Aflutter)  and Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is that in Atrial Flutter,(Aflutter), the pulse rate is uniform and the heart rhythm is regular, fast, and organized  Whereas, In Atrial Fibrillation (Afib), The heart rhythm is irregular, fast and not uniform and organized. In both cases, the upper chamber of the heart doesn’t sync in with the lower chamber of the heart which can cause strokes or heart failure.

Afib, is a type of Arrhythmia, a heart disorder in which the atria quivers irregularly and ineffectively, It disrupts the coordination of artia and ventricles and as a result the blood cannot reach to the other parts of body causing severe effects on the brain and heart.

Aflutter is also a type of Arrhythmia, It is similar to Afib, but here the atria quivers in a regular but fast way. The heart rhythm in Aflutter are less chaotic than Afib. In Aflutter the heart beats too fast which increases the risk of stroke and heart failure.

Comparison Table Between Afib and Aflutter

Parameter Of Comparison Afib Aflutter
Regularity of atria   In Afib the atria beats irregular and fast In Aflutter the atria beats regular but fast.
Common in PeopleAfib is more common, and especially in old age group. Aflutter is less common in people
Electrical activity The electrical activity in atria is organized and coordinated  in case of Aflutter The electrical activity in atria is disorganized and  chaotic in case of Afib
Heart rate In Afib the heart rate lies in between  140 to 160 beats per minute In Aflutter the heart rate lies in between 250 to 350 beats per minute.
Ablation therapy Ablation therapy is less effective in Afib than in AfibAblation therapy is more effective in case of Aflutter
ECG test pattern In Afib, an irregular Ventricular pattern is shown on the ECG test. In Aflutter, a sawtooth pattern is shown on the ECG test

What is Afib?

Afib, commonly known as Atrial fibrillation is a medical condition that disrupts the normal heart rhythm. It causes irregular rapid and quivering heart rhythms ranging from 140-160 beats per minute.

In general, the atria and ventricles work together for pumping blood throughout the body, but in the condition of Afib, they don’t work together .The atria start fluttering irregularly and don’t move the blood into the ventricles.

Afib can cause several heart-related complications like brain damage, stroke,  blood clot, and heart failure.

Symptoms of Afib

 The following symptoms can be seen  If a person is suffering from Afib:

  1. Fluttering heartbeat
  2. An uneven pulse rate
  3. Feeling dizzy and weak
  4. Having severe chest pain
  5. Shortness of breath

Treatment for Afib:

In most cases, Afib can be treated through medication and a general change in the lifestyle while in some cases, A Surgery is needed for restoring the normal heart rate. The medicines used in the treatment cannot fully cure the condition of Afib but can help in controlling the severity and occurrence of Afib.

What is Aflutter?

Atrial flutter, also known as Aflutter is a rhythm disorder that is associated with fast heart rate. In Aflutter, one can feel abnormal heart rhythm in the upper chamber of heart i.e. Atria.

In Aflutter, the contraction rate of Atria is generally fast but the type of heart rhythm cannot be described other than fast.

Symptoms Of Aflutter

Usually, people with A-flutter may not have any symptoms, However, if left untreated, it may increase the risk of heart failure, strokes and can also cause other heart-related complications. The symptoms of Aflutter are the same as of Afib.

  1.  Breathlessness
  2. Fluttering in the heart
  3. Fatigue and Dizziness
  4. Chest pain
  5. Strokes

Treatment of Aflutter

The treatment of Aflutter is similar as Afib, The Doctor may prescribe medicines which can control the heart rate and also cures the symptoms. For preventing from future strokes, blood thinner are used in the treatment. Other medical devices such as Electrical cardioversion and Catheter ablation is also used for the treating the condition of A-flutter.

Prevention for Afib and Aflutter

Small lifestyle changes can also help in curing the Afib and Aflutter, the following changes can be opted by an individual for better results:

  1. Keeping healthy eating habits and following a proper diet which is rich in fruits and vegetables
  2. Managing the blood pressure by keeping a limit on the salt intake.
  3. Having regular exercise and being physically active.  
  4. Keeping a limit on caffeine intake.
  5. By saying no to alcohol and smoking.
  6. By maintaining  a normal and healthy weight

Main Differences Between Afib and Aflutter

  1. Afib and Aflutter both are types of Arrhythmia which is a  heart disorder that leads to irregular and fast heart rhythm.
  2. The main difference between Afib and Aflutter is in the pattern and Regularity of Atria A-fib the Atria is irregular and chaotic While in A-flutter it is regular and fast.
  3. The symptoms of both Afib and Aflutter are similar but, the symptoms of Afib are more severe than Aflutter
  4. People having Aflutter have more chances to develop Afib, even after the treatment.
  5. In both cases, treatment may include medications such as blood thinners to control the increased heart rate, However, in severe cases, Ablation therapy, Electrical cardioversion, and other therapy are used in the treatment.
  6. Afib is commonly found more in older people, however, Aflutter is less common than Afib
  7. If a person has a  history of heart disorder or has high blood pressure then it’s more likely to have a severe case of Afib or Aflutter.
  8. Both Afib and Aflutter are progressive heart conditions which means that it gets worsen with time if left untreated. Aflutter generally doesn’t show symptoms at first glance, but it can be diagnosed while checking up for other heart complications.

Conclusion

Afib and Aflutter both fall in the category of Arrhythmia which is a heart disorder in which one can suffer from irregular heart rhythm.

In both the cases the heartbeat are faster than normal rate, which is occurred when the atria and ventricles doesn’t coordinate with each other and as a result, The heart doesn’t pump out the blood to other parts of the body.

Afib and Aflutter can cause several complications, like heart failure and strokes, however Various treatment are available for both conditions.

References

  1. https://iro.uiowa.edu/esploro/outputs/journalArticle/Stroke-Prevention-in-Atrial-Fibrillation-Study/9984013917702771
  2. https://www.jacc.org/doi/abs/10.1016/j.jacc.2007.08.066