Brugada Syndrome (pronounced “brew-GAH-dah”) is a potentially life-threatening, genetic disease with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, and it affects men.
Normally, each beat of your heart is triggered by an electrical impulse generated by special cells in the right upper chamber of your heart.
Tiny pores, called channels, on each of these cells, direct the electrical activity, which makes your heart beat.
In Brugada Syndrome, a defect in these channels can cause your heart to beat abnormally and spin electrically out of control in an extremely fast and dangerous (life-threatening) rhythm of the lower chambers of your heart (ventricular fibrillation).
As a result, your heart doesn’t pump effectively and not enough blood travels to the rest of your body. This will cause fainting if that rhythm lasts for only a short time…or sudden cardiac death if the heart remains in that bad rhythm.
Because there may be few to no symptoms present (you can’t feel it) many people are unaware of their condition until a routine EKG detects a telltale abnormality called a “Type 1 Brugada ECG Pattern.”
This syndrome is treatable, however, with preventive measures such as avoiding certain aggravating medications, reducing fever when present and, when necessary, having an implantable cardioverter/defibrillator (an ICD) surgically placed.
However, there are a few signs and symptoms (also present in other conditions) that could point to Brugada Syndrome:
- Fainting (syncope)
- Irregular heartbeats or palpitations
- Extremely fast and chaotic heartbeat (sudden cardiac arrest)
Because of the similarities between these and symptoms of other heart rhythm problems, however, it’s essential to see a doctor if you detect any abnormality in how you feel.
When to see a doctor:
➡ If you have heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
➡ If you faint and you suspect it may be because of a heart condition, seek emergency medical attention.
➡ If your parent or a sibling has been diagnosed with Brugada Syndrome, make an appointment with your doctor for genetic testing to decide your own risk.
While this disorder is often inherited, it may also result from a hard-to-detect structural abnormality in your heart, electrolyte imbalances (electrolytes help send electrical signals through your body), or because of certain prescription medications or cocaine use.(See Cocaine-The Perfect Heart Attack Drug)
Risk factors include:
• Family history. If other family members have had Brugada syndrome, you’re at an increased risk of having the condition.
• Being male. Adult men are more often diagnosed than are women.
• Race. Brugada occurs more often in Asians than in other races.
• Fever. While having a fever doesn’t cause it by itself, fever can irritate the heart and stimulate a Brugada-triggered faint or sudden cardiac arrest.
Sudden cardiac arrest. If not treated immediately, this sudden loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness, which often occurs while sleeping, is fatal. With fast, proper medical care, survival is possible.
➡ Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — rapid compressions to the chest — and an external shock from an automatic external defibrillator (AED) can improve the chances of survival until emergency personnel arrives.
Fainting (syncope). If you have been diagnosed with Brugada Syndrome and you faint, seek immediate emergency medical attention.
It’s your heart that carries the load for keeping you alive. No heartbeat, no you…so, take care of this precious organ, it’s your best friend.