Brugada syndrome is a heart rhythm disorder. 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 this 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 abnormally fast and dangerous rhythm (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.

Brugada syndrome is often inherited, but it may also result from a hard-to-detect structural abnormality in your heart, imbalances in chemicals that help transmit electrical signals through your body (electrolytes), or the effects of certain prescription medications or cocaine use.

Brugada syndrome usually is diagnosed in adults and, sometimes, in adolescents. It's rarely diagnosed in young children.

Apr. 19, 2014