Brugada Syndrome

Brugada Syndrome is a rare cardiac condition that affects less than 0.02% of the population in the West.

Brugada Syndrome is an inherited condition, so once a family member is diagnosed, it is very important that the rest of your family be tested for the syndrome.

About

Brugada Syndrome results in a disturbance of the heart’s electrical system. Like Long QT Syndrome, Brugada Syndrome is often due to an abnormality in a cardiac ion channel (microscopic pores in the heart cells).

Brugada Syndrome affects males more than females. It has an average age of onset of 40 years, although it’s been diagnosed in newborns and young children, and has been identified as a rare cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Symptoms

Dizziness or Fainting

Gasping, labored breathing, particularly at night

Irregular heartbeats or palpitations

The symptoms of Brugada Syndrome are often confused with the common faint or a seizure disorder. Symptoms of Brugada Syndrome include fainting (syncope) and sudden cardiac arrest due to a fast and unstable rhythm (arrhythmia) in the ventricles of the heart that doesn’t allow the heart to pump adequately. If the unstable rhythm stops by itself, then the symptom is fainting. If it doesn’t stop, then a cardiac arrest or sudden death can occur.

Other symptoms include seizures, unexplained nighttime urination, or strange breathing during sleep. Symptoms occur more commonly with a fever.

The arrhythmia, as well as sudden death, commonly occurs during sleep. Many of those who have Brugada Syndrome don’t have symptoms.

Diagnosis

Doctors use an electrocardiogram (ECG) to test for Brugada Syndrome. The ECG can be normal at times, and abnormal at other times. If a Brugada ECG pattern is not detected in a standard ECG, it can sometimes be captured by moving some of the leads. Three ECGs are then taken in a row, each time moving the leads to a specific place. This three serial ECG is known as the Brugada high-lead ECG.

Fever, heat exhaustion, and certain medications can bring out these ECG changes.

Doctors may also use genetic testing to make a diagnosis.

Treatment

Prevention

  1. Avoid drugs on the brugadadrugs.org list
  2. Keep well hydrated, especially if vomiting and diarrhea
  3. Reduce fever and keep it down; avoid heat exhaustion
  4. Take an omega-3 fish oil supplement
  5. Avoid excessive alcohol
  6. Strictly avoid marijuana and cocaine
Playful Indian family sitting isolated over white background

Community

Message Board
Message boards for your cardiac condition are in the works – check back soon.

Get Support

Are you living with Brugada Syndrome? Would you like to connect with others for support and to share resources and information? Join SADS Connection!
SADS Blog
To read stories of SADS families just like yours, and learn more about life with Brugada Syndrome, visit our blog at SADS.org/blog.

Resources

Brugada Syndrome Brochure