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Brugada syndrome: A general cardiologist's perspective

      Highlights

      • Brugada syndrome is a genetic disorder with increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
      • Brugada-related sudden cardiac death is due to ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation.
      • Typical ECG shows pseudo-right bundle branch block and coved ST elevation in V1–V2.
      • The Brugada ECG pattern is often intermittent, thus hindering the diagnosis.
      • ~1.0% of adults have typical ECG pattern but stay asymptomatic for their lifetime.

      Abstract

      Brugada syndrome (BrS) is one of the commonest inherited primary arrhythmia syndromes typically presenting with arrhythmic syncope or sudden cardiac death (SCD) due to polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation precipitated by vagotonia or fever in apparently healthy adults, less frequently in children. The prevalence of the syndrome (0.01%–0.3%) varies among regions and ethnicities, being the highest in Southeast Asia.
      BrS is diagnosed by the “coved type” ST-segment elevation ≥ 2 mm followed by a negative T-wave in ≥1 of the right precordial leads V1–V2. The typical electrocardiogram in BrS is often concealed by fluctuations between normal, non-diagnostic and diagnostic ST-segment pattern in the same patient, thus hindering the diagnosis.
      Presently, the majority of BrS patients is incidentally diagnosed, and may remain asymptomatic for their lifetime. However, BrS is responsible for 4–12% of all SCDs and for ~20% of SCDs in patients with structurally normal hearts. Arrhythmic risk is the highest in SCD survivors and in patients with spontaneous BrS electrocardiogram and arrhythmic syncope, but risk stratification for SCD in asymptomatic subjects has not yet been fully defined. Recent achievements have expanded our understanding of the genetics and electrophysiological mechanisms underlying BrS, while radiofrequency catheter ablation may be an effective new approach to treat ventricular tachyarrhythmias in BrS patients with arrhythmic storms.
      The present review summarizes our contemporary understanding and recent advances in the inheritance, pathophysiology, clinical assessment and treatment of BrS patients.

      Keywords

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