Brugada syndrome

Brugada (brew-GAH-dah) syndrome is a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorder that is sometimes inherited. People with Brugada syndrome have an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricular arrhythmias).

Many people who have Brugada syndrome don't have any symptoms, and so they're unaware of their condition. A telltale abnormality — called a type 1 Brugada ECG pattern — is detected by an electrocardiogram (ECG) test. Brugada syndrome is much more common in men.

Brugada syndrome is treatable with preventive measures such as avoiding aggravating medications, reducing fever and, when necessary, using a medical device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Many people who have Brugada syndrome are undiagnosed because the condition often doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms.

The most important sign of Brugada syndrome is an abnormal pattern on an electrocardiogram (ECG) called a type 1 Brugada ECG pattern. You can't feel a Brugada sign — it's only detected on an ECG.

It's possible to have a Brugada sign, or pattern, without having Brugada syndrome. However, signs and symptoms that could mean you have Brugada syndrome include:

  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Irregular heartbeats or palpitations
  • Extremely fast and chaotic heartbeat (sudden cardiac arrest)

Brugada syndrome signs and symptoms are similar to some other heart rhythm problems, so it's essential that you see your doctor to find out if Brugada syndrome or another heart rhythm problem is causing your symptoms.

When to see a doctor

If you have heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), make an appointment to see your doctor. Your problem could be caused by a heart rhythm problem, but tests can determine if the underlying cause of your heart problem is Brugada syndrome.

If you faint and you suspect it may be because of a heart condition, seek emergency medical attention.

If your parent, sibling or child has been diagnosed with Brugada syndrome, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor. He or she can discuss whether you should have genetic testing to see if you're at risk of Brugada syndrome.

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