Brugada syndrome is a rare inherited heart rhythm disturbance that restricts the flow of sodium ions into the heart cells.
As a result, the flow of electrical impulses through the heart is disrupted, which can lead to life-threatening heart rhythms.
Brugada syndrome does not affect the structure of the heart.
Brugada syndrome more commonly affects young men of South East Asian descent. It is not a common condition in the western world, but those affected are mainly young to middle-aged men and some women.
The symptoms of Brugada syndrome can include blackouts caused by a disturbance in the heart’s rhythm (ventricular arrhythmia) or palpitations. However, you may experience no symptoms at all.
How is Brugada syndrome diagnosed?
Brugada Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. You will have to have an ECG. The differences in the ECG waveform that are characteristic of Brugada Syndrome may appear on your results continuously, intermittently, or they may not show at all.
If the differences don’t show up on your initial ECG, you may be given an injection of medicine whilst your heart rhythm is continuously monitored. The medicine aims to provoke the waveform changes that would assist in diagnosing Brugada Syndrome. These tests are not always conclusive and may need repeating.
Following a diagnosis, your GP may refer you for genetic testing to screen for any inherited gene mutations that have caused the condition. If the test shows a positive mutation, your family members will be encouraged to be tested in case they too carry the gene.