The condition affects the pattern of electrical signals passing through the heart, and can cause death through ventricular fibrillation, which is a type of arrhythmia in which the heart quivers instead of pumping blood, or through suddenly causing the heartbeat to become very fast.
It is usually caused by a faulty or mutated gene inherited through the family line.
The condition often does not present with symptoms, although some patients with Brugada syndrome experience:
- Fits or seizures
- Occasional palpitations
- Chest pain (angina)
- Sudden shortness of breath.
The symptoms can be triggered by high body temperatures, excessive consumption of alcohol, or dehydration. The symptoms are more likely to appear at around 30-40 years of age.
If you know of any family members with this condition, or if you have lost any family members to sudden death syndrome, it is strongly advised that you get tested by a cardiologist, who can assess any potential risks to your heart health and prescribe appropriate treatment.
Ajmaline is an anti-arrhythmic agent and sodium-channel blocking drug which is used to diagnose Brugada syndrome. It is considered to have the highest sensitivity of all drugs that can be used to diagnose this condition.
The way it works is that the doctor will inject ajmaline into your arm during an ordinary electrocardiogram (ECG), which is a test to measure your hearts electric signals. The presence of the drug will help to make clear any unusual heart patterns that we need to be aware of.
What to do next
Please call us to make an appointment with a cardiologist to discuss any symptoms, questions, or concerns about testing for Brugada syndrome or any other inherited cardiac conditions.
Angiograms are recommended by a cardiologist when it is suspected that you have a condition affecting your blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis, peripheral arterial disease, brain aneurysm, blood clots, or pulmonary embolism.
A local anaesthetic is used around the artery used for testing, so you will not feel any pain during the procedure. You can ask to be mildly sedated as well, if you prefer. There may be some tenderness around the area in the days following the test.
It is best if you do not eat on the day of your angiogram. Other than that, no special preparation is needed. You should aim to have a day or two of rest at home following the procedure.