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Brugada Syndrome

Brugada syndrome is a rare disorder that causes an irregular heartbeat.

The consequences of this condition are dangerous and can result in death during sleep.


Symptoms that may occur with Brugada syndrome include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

Risk factors

  • Your race. People of Asian descent are at greatest risk for developing Brugada syndrome, particularly those of Japanese and Southeast Asian ancestry.
  • Your sex. Men have the condition eight to 10 times more frequently than women. Research has shown that testosterone may contribute to the condition.
  • Genetics. Sometimes the cause of Brugada syndrome is related to a mutation in the SCN5A gene, which causes a ventricular arrhythmia and prevents blood from properly circulating through the body.
  • Other factors. Some people acquire the syndrome as a result of arrhythmia medications, high blood pressure or mental illness. High and low potassium levels, as well as high blood calcium levels are also linked to acquired Brugada syndrome.

Diagnosis & treatment

To determine whether Brugada syndrome is genetic or acquired, your physician may order genetic testing to look for a mutation in the SCN5A gene. If a mutation is discovered, your physician will review preventive measures you can take to help you avoid life-threatening consequences.

Treatment may involve an implanted cardioverter defibrillator, which can help prevent symptoms and sudden death. The device can detect the start of an arrhythmia and send an electrical impulse to your heart to shock it back to its regular rhythm.

Your physician may also recommend certain medications and surgery to further help you manage your condition.

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