Atrial tachycardia is defined as a regular atrial activation from atrial areas with centrifugal spread, caused by enhanced automaticity, triggered activity or microreentry. New ECG classification differentiates between focal and macroreentrant atrial tachycardia. Macroreentrant atrial tachycardias include typical atrial flutter and other well characterized macroreentrant circuits in right and left atrium. Typical atrial flutter has been described as counterclockwise reentry within right atrial and it presents a characteristic ECG "sawtooth" pattern on the inferior leads. The foci responsible for focal atrial tachycardia do not occur randomly throughout the atria but tend to cluster at characteristic anatomical locations. The surface ECG is a very helpful tool in directing mapping to particular areas of interest. Atrial tachycardia should be differentiated from other supraventricular tachycardias. We propose a diagnostic algorithm in order to help the physician to discriminate among those. Holter analysis could offer further details to differentiate between atrial tachycardia and another supraventricular tachycardia. However, if the diagnosis is uncertain, it is possible to utilize vagal maneuvers or adenosine administration. In conclusion, in spite of well-known limits, a good interpretation of ECG is very important and it could help the physician to manage and to treat correctly patients with atrial tachycardia.
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