Heart off beat
July 12th, 2015
Seemingly healthy but sick: For people with Brugada syndrome the first symptoms can already be fatal.
Although persons affected carry a genetic defect that may lead to the Brugada syndrome since they were born, most still feel healthy. However, appearances are deceiving: The rare disease that is most often inherited, may cause cardiac arrhythmias, dizziness, seizures, loss of consciousness, or cardiovascular failure that may result in a sudden death.
These arrhythmias occur mostly at those aged under 40, whereby men are more often affected than women. Yet, a diagnosis or prevention of a sudden cardiac event is extremely difficult, since it is possible that persons affected by the Brugada syndrome have no complaints at all.
The ignorance of the persons concerned means that in most cases the disease is diagnosed only after a seemingly unprovoked unconsciousness or survived cardiac death. As the typical changes in heart rhythm occur long before many people affected by the disease have any physical complaints, it is possible to detect the Brugada syndrome by an ECG even before symptoms occur. However, there are cases in which the changes only occur in phases or do not occur at all. Nonetheless, irregular changes of the heart rhythm can be amplified and thus made visible by certain medications. Accordingly, an ECG is the only way to detect the Brugada syndrome in good time.
If the Brugada syndrome is detected early, it is possible to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death, for example, by an implanted defibrillator.