Brugada syndrome is an electrical abnormality of the heart that can increase the risk of developing abnormal and potentially dangerous heart rhythms. The condition gets its name from the three Brugada brothers who described the condition in 1992. Characteristic changes can be seen on an electrical recording of the heart (ECG).
How common is it?
Brugada syndrome affects at least 1 in 2000 of the population. It is one of the commonest cause of sudden death in young men in South East Asia (where it is know as Lai Tai).
What symptoms might I get?
Most people with Brugada syndrome have no symptoms but palpitation and blackouts can occur. Brugada syndrome is a recognised cause of sudden cardiac death in young adults.
What extra tests are required?
You will need a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) to check your heart structure and function. Sometimes a gene test is required to identify a genetic cause. Some patients require a test where an infusion of a drug (such as ajmaline) is given to identify more subtle changes in the ECG.
Will I need treatment?
If you have Brugada syndrome and features that suggest you are an increased risk such as a history of collapse or you have family member who has died from the condition, then you may be offered an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
Is it hereditary?
Brugada syndrome can be inherited from either your mother or father. For that reason we recommend that your immediately family including any brothers and sisters you have be screened for the condition.
Does this affect my life expectancy?
It can do, although many people with Brugada syndrome can lead an entirely normal life.
What happens next?
If you have been diagnosed with the Brugada syndrome then a consultation can be offered to you with a local heart rhythm specialist to discuss any further tests or treatment.