Brugada [brew-GAH-dah] syndrome is a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorder that is often inherited. If your child has Brugada syndrome, they will have an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms from the lower chambers of the heart, also called ventricular [ven-TRIK-yoo-lar] arrhythmias [uh-RITH-me-uh]. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats irregularly. This can disrupt circulation and lead to fainting or sometimes death. Problems most often happen during sleep.
Brugada syndrome is rarely diagnosed in children. Children who have it usually don't have any symptoms, so parents are unaware of their condition. This syndrome may explain some cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Many children who have Brugada syndrome are not diagnosed because the condition often doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms. If there are symptoms, they often occur at night and can include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Very fast and/or chaotic heartbeat
- Trouble breathing
- Sudden cardiac arrest
If your child has fainting or seizures, or if you think your child has an irregular heartbeat, see your child’s healthcare provider. These symptoms can be caused by a number of different conditions. It’s important to get a correct diagnosis and start treatment if necessary.
If you or your child’s other parent have Brugada syndrome, let your child’s healthcare provider know about it.
Brugada syndrome is often an inherited genetic condition related to a specific set of genes. It’s more common in:
- People who have a mother, father, brother, or sister with Brugada syndrome
- People of Asian ancestry
Brugada syndrome is sometimes discovered when a healthcare provider is doing tests for another reason, such as an evaluation before surgery.
If you are concerned about Brugada syndrome, your child’s healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam. They may also ask questions about your child’s symptoms, and your family history of heart conditions.
If your child’s healthcare provider thinks your child may have Brugada syndrome, they may order extra tests to help with the diagnosis, such as:
- Electrocardiogram [ee-LEK-troh-KAR-dee-oh-gram] (ECG), which is a non-invasive test that records your child’s heartbeat.
- Electrophysiology test, which will help your healthcare provider figure out how easy it is for your child to fall into an abnormal heart rhythm.
- Genetic testing, which will help your child’s healthcare provider determine if there is a genetic tendency to the disorder.
Brugada syndrome is not a curable condition. Treatments focus on preventing heart rhythm problems. Some of these options include:
- Medicine—taking certain medicines or avoiding other medicines
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device (in extreme situations)
Because Brugada syndrome is usually an inherited condition, there is no known prevention. Identifying Brugada syndrome early can help you watch for and prevent problems. If you have Brugada syndrome, you can consult with a genetic counselor to learn about the chances of your children having it.
Brugada [brew-GAH-dah] syndrome is a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorder that is often inherited. If your child has Brugada syndrome, they will have an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms from the lower chambers of the heart, also called ventricular arrhythmias.
Brugada syndrome usually has few symptoms, but it can be detected with an ECG to evaluate heart rhythm. An echocardiogram or cardiac MRI may be performed to rule out any underlying heart conditions.