Brugada syndrome is a dangerous disorder that affects the heart rhythms and can be life threatening.
Brugada syndrome is detected by an electrocardiogram examination which in turn identifies the characteristic abnormal heart beat known as Brugada sign. In most of the cases it was found that the condition was inherited.
Brugada syndrome is more common among men. Usually there are no visible signs that will indicate the presence of Brugada syndrome and as such persons affected by Brugada syndrome live without the knowledge of having that disorder.
It is treated by installing a medical device known as implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
Symptoms of Brugada syndrome
In many cases, Brugada syndrome goes undiagnosed as it does not show any alarming signs of its presence. The vital sign of Brugada syndrome is the abnormal pattern of heart beat rhythm, shown by an ECG. No one notices or feels the existence of abnormal heart rhythms until it is exposed through the electrocardiogram reading that is designed to check on the behavior of the heart beat.
Some of the signs of Brugada syndrome are listed below:
- Fainting or syncope
- Unexpected cardiac arrest
- Palpitations or abnormal and irregular heartbeats
Sometimes the Brugada syndrome signs may result in confusion as the symptoms are similar to other heart beat problems. Only the doctor can identify the difference between the Brugada syndrome symptoms and the symptoms of other cardiac rhythm conditions.
The following are the complications of Brugada syndrome:
- Abrupt cardiac arrest: Abrupt stopping of heart functioning, consciousness and breathing is dangerous, as it generally tends to occur during sleep in Brugada patients. Till the emergency care becomes available, administration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation- rapid compressions to the chest can increase the chances of survival.
- Fainting: A Brugada syndrome patient who suddenly faints without any known cause will need immediate emergency medical care.
When to consult a doctor
When a person unexpected faints or experiences palpitations or arrhythmia, he/she should seek emergency medical care, because it may be due to Brugada syndrome or other heart ailments.
If anyone finds that his/her parent or children have the Brugada syndrome, then it is important that the person visits a doctor to check for the presence of Brugada syndrome to avoid the risk of future complications.
Causes of Brugada syndrome
- The electrical impulses are generated by the special cells, located on the upper right side chamber of the heart. Minute pores, which are known as channels, present in each of the cells trigger and direct the electrical impulses, making the heart to beat on regular rhythm. Any defect in the channels triggering the electrical activities, can cause the Brugada syndrome and heart beat disorder.
- Discrepancies or hurdles in the functioning of channels tend to affect the effective pumping activity of the heart. This disorder causes less pumping of blood and oxygen to the rest of the body, which results in fainting and cardiac arrest.
- Brugada syndrome is an inherited disorder but it may also be caused due to various types of structural deformities of the heart that are difficult to detect.
- The presence of imbalances, in chemicals which help in transmitting the electrical impulses (electrolytes) in body, can also cause Brugada syndrome.
- Certain types of medications or prescription drugs, or the use of cocaine can also be a reason for Brugada syndrome.
- Normally, Brugada syndrome is detected in adults and adolescents. The condition is very rare in children and infants.
Some of the risk factors that increase the vulnerability to Brugada syndrome are as follows:
- The male gender: Brugada syndrome cases are more often diagnosed in males as compared to females. However, they have an equal share in the rate of detection during childhood and in adolescence
- A Family history of Brugada syndrome: If any of the other family members have the Brugada syndrome, you are also placed in risk zone.
- Race and ethnicity: Asian races are prone to Brugada syndrome in comparison to other races.
- Fever: Fever, particularly in children, can increase the risk to Brugada syndrome complications such as fainting, etc.
Tests and Diagnosis for Brugada syndrome
Electrocardiogram is taken to confirm the disorder of abnormal impulses and irregular heart rhythm. If the doctor suspects that the subject has Brugada syndrome, which is not clear in the ECG, then he may go for Electrophysiology test. In this EP test the electrodes clearly map out any irregular heartbeats.
Since the disorder is primarily considered as inherited, the doctor may also advice the tests for other family members.
Brugada syndrome treatment
A subject suffering from Brugada syndrome may have had:
- Hereditary family history of sudden death by cardiac arrest
- Personal history of fainting
- Personal history of heart beat problem
Looking at the nature and suddenness of the disease, people with high risk of cardiac arrest and Brugada syndrome should be provided with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, instead of giving medications as treatment. The tiny device monitors the heart beats and gives electrical shocks whenever required to correct the irregular heartbeats.
To avoid unwanted complications and to suit the age and activities of a person, the ICDs are suitably programmed by the doctors. If the activities are regulated as per the guidance of the doctor, to suit the program fed in the ICDs, complications can be avoided.
One should continue the regular medical checkups for altering the treatment and medicines to suit the changes that the body demands.