Brugada syndrome is an uncommon but potentially life-threatening heart condition that results from rhythm disorder. Individuals with Brugada syndrome have an increased risk of irregular rapid heart rhythms called arrhythmias, which can cause fainting, shivers and can even be fatal. It is much more common in men and can be treatable by taking precautionary measures such as avoiding certain medications, reducing high temperature, and when necessary, using a medical device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).



Most individuals who have Brugada syndrome are undiagnosed because the condition doesn’t offer many evident symptoms. The most important sign of Brugada syndrome is an abnormal pattern of heart rhythms (called type 1 Brugada ECG pattern) that can be detected on a electrocardiogram. Other symptoms that can be possible signs of Brugada may include:

  • Fainting
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Rapid heartbeats (sudden cardiac arrest)



Each heartbeat is stimulated by an electrical impulse produced by special cells in the right upper chamber of the heart. The tiny pores, called channels, on each of the cells guide the electrical activity which makes the heart beat. Brugada syndrome is a heart rhythm disorder which can occur due to defects in the electrical activity. This causes insufficient blood flow throughout the body due to the ineffective pumping of the heart and can trigger fainting spells or even sudden cardiac death.


Risk Factors

Factors associated with an increased risk of Brugada syndrome include:

  • Being male
  • Often occurs in Asians
  • Inherited condition
  • Fever (can irritate the heart and stimulate  Brugada-triggered symptoms)



Complications of Brugada syndrome may include:

  • Fainting spells
  • Loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness (sudden cardiac arrest)



There are currently no medications recommended for treating Brugada syndrome. The only effective treatment is having an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) built-in. An ICD works by sensing when the heart is beating at a potentially dangerous irregular rate and responds by sending electrical shocks to return the heart to a normal rhythm.


A few simple actions that can help prevent heart rhythm instability are:

  • Avoiding high temperatures by taking paracetamol
  •  Treating illnesses such as diarrhea to restore balance of salts in the body
  • Drug therapy: the use of medications such as quinidine to reduce the risk of  irregular heart rhythms