Brugada syndrome and supraventricular tachyarrhythmias: a novel association?

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2001 Jun;12(6):680-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1540-8167.2001.00680.x.


Introduction: The Brugada syndrome is a distinct form of idiopathic ventricular fibrillation characterized by a unique ECG pattern consisting of a right bundle branch block-like aspect and ST segment elevation in leads V1 to V3. As a high induction rate of ventricular tachyarrhythmias has been reported in Brugada syndrome, we hypothesized that this also may be true for supraventricular tachycardias in these patients.

Methods and results: Between January 1995 and December 2000, we identified 35 consecutive patients with Brugada syndrome; 26 had a history of cardiac arrest or syncope and 9 were asymptomatic. All patients underwent electrophysiologic study, including an atrial and ventricular stimulation protocol. Ten patients (29%) were found to have supraventricular tachyarrhythmias (SVT) in addition to the Brugada syndrome. These 10 patients presented with aborted sudden cardiac death (n = 3) and/or a family history of sudden cardiac death (n = 4), syncope (n = 4), or primarily with a Brugada typical ECG, a positive family history, and palpitations (n = 2). Eight of them underwent genetic testing, but only 1 had a mutation in the SCN5A gene. In 6 patients, an AV nodal reentrant tachycardia was easily and reproducibly inducible. Two patients had clinical documented and inducible episodes of an atrial tachycardia (1 in addition to an AV nodal reentrant tachycardia). One patient had paroxysmal atrial fibrillation alternating with sinus rhythm, and 2 patients with accessory pathways were identified.

Conclusion: This is the first description of an association of the Brugada syndrome with SVT. Thus, the arrhythmogenic substrate in Brugada syndrome may not be restricted to the ventricular level. Palpitations in this syndrome should raise the possibility of SVT. Conversely, in patients with SVT and aborted sudden cardiac death or syncope not related to SVT, the Brugada syndrome should be considered a possible additional electrophysiologic abnormality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bundle-Branch Block / complications*
  • Bundle-Branch Block / genetics
  • Bundle-Branch Block / therapy
  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / complications*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / genetics
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / therapy