Guide To Diagnosing And Treating Brugada Syndrome

Brugada syndrome remains a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder. Individuals with this syndrome could have inherited it from a family member. In this syndrome, individuals have a greater chance of abnormal heart rhythms that come from the lower areas of the heart. These abnormal rhythms are also known as ventricular arrhythmias. While some patients have symptoms, others don't show any signs of an irregular heartbeat until an electrocardiogram detects the abnormality. Men tend to have Brugada syndrome much more often than women. Other symptoms of Brugada syndrome may occur and include fainting and dizziness, labored breathing, erratic and fast heartbeat, and sudden cardiac arrest. Brugada syndrome is caused by an abnormal heartbeat due to a defect in the channels in the heart.Thankfully, it is possible to treat this condition. Learn more about the treatment and diagnosis of Brugada syndrome now.

Use Of An Electrocardiogram


The use of an electrocardiogram (ECG) is the only way to positively identify Brugada syndrome. However, to gain a definite diagnosis of the syndrome, both an electrocardiogram and the presence of symptoms or clinical criteria may be necessary. The sign of Brugada syndrome on an ECG looks like an elevated coved ST segment, followed by a negative T wave. This combination remains the only ECG abnormality that can potentially be a diagnosing factor for the syndrome. When this abnormal reading is accompanied by clinical criteria such as documented ventricular fibrillation, family history of adult sudden cardiac death, a history of coved ECGs in members of the family, inducibility of ventricular tachycardia (VT) with electrical stimulation, fainting spells, and nocturnal agonal breathing, a positive diagnosis of Brugada's syndrome can be determined.

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Electrophysiology Studies

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Electrophysiology studies record the electric activity in an individual's heart. It determines the cause of heart rhythm difficulties. Once the cause has been discovered, appropriate treatment can be made for the abnormal heart rhythm. A doctor needs to perform this test because the patient's irregular heartbeat and rhythm will be detected. During the test, the medical personnel may also try a variety of medications to determine which one works best for the individual. They may also use the test to help them decide if a device or procedure is needed to treat the irregular rhythm. The person tested needs to tell their doctor what medications they take, as some need to be discontinued before the test is done. Patients evaluated lie on a hospital bed and should have the test without food in the system. A nurse inserts an IV in the arm, and the patient receives a relaxing medication. The doctor will look at the results to decide where the arrhythmia originates and decide whether their patient has Brugada's syndrome.

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Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator

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An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a small device the size of a pager that is placed in a person's chest. This device prevents cardiac arrest, and continuously detects, monitors, and stops abnormal heartbeats. If the heart beats unusually, an electric pulse is delivered to it to restore a normal heartbeat. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators don't work the same way as pacemakers and are used for different medical purposes. An ICD gets placed under an individual's skin beneath the left collarbone and contains wires that lead directly to the heart, so it can immediately correct cardiac arrest and abnormal heartbeats. It will be placed during a hospital visit of about two days. While there may be a slight pain when the electrical pulse occurs, the pain should stop after the shock ends. A Brugada syndrome patient may be given both the ICD and medication to keep their heart beating correctly. A doctor monitors heartbeats and can adjust the ICD if needed.

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Regular Medical Checkups


A patient with Brugada syndrome needs to see their treating physician routinely for regular medical checkups. A qualified healthcare professional needs to listen to the patient's heart, perform tests, and monitor medications to make sure the technology and medicine (if any) are working correctly. An individual being treated for this syndrome needs to keep accurate track of the symptoms they experience and report them to their doctor immediately. Some of the things a Brugada syndrome patient can do to improve their checkup results and keep themselves healthier are to follow any pre-appointment instructions, fast for eight to twelve hours before appointments, and write down symptoms. Also, it's a good idea for the Brugada syndrome patient to take someone with them to their appointment to help them remember what is said.

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Medication Therapy


Medications such as quinidine remain a top choice for individuals with Brugada syndrome. Medication therapy is primarily used to keep the individual's heart from going into irregular beats in the first place and may be used with or without an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator being placed. If medication alone doesn't prevent dangerous heart rhythms, an ICD may be set. Plus, some individuals need to have both drug therapy and use an ICD to keep their heart rate steady. A dizzy or fainting spell may also cause a doctor to recommend medications or a change in them. Patients should be sure to have a complete list of the other medications used as well as supplements, as some over-the-counter medications can stimulate irregular heartbeats. Also, be sure to keep a list of questions for the doctor during any appointments.


    HealthPrep Staff