Young woman feeling faint

Brugada syndrome

What is Brugada syndrome?

Brugada syndrome is a rare and potentially life-threatening condition that causes an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

This arrhythmia often begins in the lower chambers of the heart, known as the ventricles, and can cause sudden cardiac arrest.

Brugada syndrome is the most common inherited cause of sudden cardiac death in young adults (18-35 years) with structurally normal hearts.

What are the symptoms of Brugada syndrome?

People with Brugada syndrome may be unaware they have the condition due to lack of symptoms.

When symptoms are present, they may include:

Cardiac arrest typically occurs when the heart rate is low, such as during sleep, which is one of the reasons it can be difficult to diagnose Brugada syndrome before a person has a cardiac arrest.

Having a high fever can also increase the risk of cardiac arrest in patients with Brugada syndrome.

What causes Brugada syndrome?

In the majority of cases, Brugada syndrome is thought to be caused by a genetic mutation. Children of a parent with Brugada syndrome have a 50% chance of inheriting this mutation. However, in most cases the specific genetic cause can’t be identified.

Brugada syndrome can also be caused by medication, structural issues in the heart, or other unknown causes.

How is Brugada syndrome diagnosed?

Brugada syndrome is most often diagnosed through electrocardiogram (ECG), which monitors the hearts rhythm and can pick up the characteristic ‘Brugada pattern’.

Brugada syndrom ECG patterns

As this rhythm does not occur at all times, an ECG may be conducted several times in a row, or a 24-hour Holter monitor may be used to increase the likelihood of identifying Brugada syndrome.

Other tests may include:

How is Brugada syndrome treated?

Treatment for Brugada syndrome will depend on the individual’s risk of experiencing an abnormal heart rhythm.

Treatments may include:

How can Brugada syndrome be prevented?

There is no cure for Brugada syndrome, but there are steps people can take to lower the risk of experiencing an abnormal heart rhythm.

This includes:

Male patient in hospital bed after heart surgery

"We were told many times that she might not make it through pregnancy or even through birth. But we knew we would fight this fight with her no matter what."

- Jay, Mother of CHD patient Inayah

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years