Brugada syndrome treatment depends on the risk of an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia). Those considered at high risk have:
- A family history of sudden cardiac death
- A personal history of serious heart rhythm problems
- A personal history of fainting spells
Because of the nature of the heart rhythm abnormality, medications usually can't be used to treat Brugada syndrome — only a medical device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator can. Implanting the device is usually recommended for people at high risk of sudden cardiac death or other complications of Brugada syndrome.
May. 25, 2011
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). For high-risk individuals, treatment may include an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This small device continuously monitors your heart rhythm and delivers electrical shocks when needed to control abnormal heartbeats. The procedure to implant an ICD requires hospitalization for a day or two.
ICDs may cause complications, some life-threatening, so it's important to weigh the benefits and the risks. People who have an ICD implanted as a treatment for Brugada syndrome have reported receiving shocks from their ICD even when their heartbeat was regular. This may be because many people who receive an ICD as a treatment for Brugada syndrome are young, and they may receive shocks when their heart rates increase during normal stresses, such as exercise. Your doctor will program your ICD to reduce this risk. If you have an ICD implanted as part of your Brugada syndrome treatment, talk to your doctor about ways to avoid inappropriate shocks.
- Wylie JV, et al. Brugada syndrome and sudden cardiac arrest. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 25, 2011.
- Brugada syndrome. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec07/ch075/ch075l.html. Accessed Feb. 16, 2011.
- What is Brugada syndrome? Genetics Home Reference. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/brugada-syndrome. Accessed Feb. 16, 2011.
- Probst V, et al. Long-term prognosis of patients diagnosed with Brugada syndrome: Results from the FINGER Brugada syndrome registry. Circulation. 2010;121:635.
- Macedo PG, et al. Sleep-disordered breathing in patients with Brugada syndrome. American Journal of Cardiology. 2011;107:709.