What is Brugada syndrome?

Brugada syndrome is a condition that causes an abnormal heart rhythm in the heart's lower chambers (ventricles). This irregular heartbeat can cause fainting (syncope) and lead to sudden cardiac death (SCD).

Brugada syndrome is a rare disease that is inherited (genetic) from at least one parent. It was first discovered in 1992. A lot has been learned about the condition since then, but there are still many unanswered questions. Researchers continue to study Brugada syndrome and test new treatments.

What are the symptoms of Brugada syndrome?

Symptoms of Brugada syndrome can include:

  • Ventricular tachyarrhythmia (a fast, irregular heart rhythm that begins in the lower chambers of the heart)
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Heart palpitations (can feel like a fluttering or a flip-flopping in the chest)
  • Atrial fibrillation (a fast, irregular heart rhythm that begins in the upper chambers of the heart)
  • Cardiac arrest (this may be the first symptom)

The symptoms of Brugada syndrome are similar to many other conditions. It is important to see a doctor to find out what is causing the symptoms.

Many people with Brugada syndrome do not have any symptoms. Sometimes the condition is found during an electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG is a recording of the heart’s electrical activity. People with Brugada syndrome often have a recognizable pattern (Brugada pattern) on the ECG printout.

What causes Brugada syndrome?

Brugada syndrome is often caused by a genetic mutation. The defect changes the way the heart's ion channels work (a problem called a channelopathy).

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