Incidence of Brugada electrocardiographic pattern and outcomes of these patients after intentional tricyclic antidepressant ingestion

Am J Cardiol. 2007 Aug 15;100(4):656-60. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.03.077. Epub 2007 Jun 26.


Brugada syndrome is a genetic dysfunction of the myocardial sodium channel that leads to ventricular dysrhythmias. The electrocardiographic (ECG) pattern of Brugada syndrome is occasionally seen after tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) ingestion; however, the outcome and complication risk for these patients is not clear. The objective of our study was to describe the incidence of Brugada ECG pattern (BEP) and serious complications of these patients in a large case series of intentional TCA ingestions. We also compared the proportion of complications of patients with BEP versus those without BEP. We evaluated 402 TCA ingestions, of which 9 (2.3%) were associated with the development of BEP. We compared the adverse outcomes of all TCA ingestions versus TCA ingestions with BEP. A increase in the adverse outcomes in the BEP group was found: seizures (relative risk [RR] 4; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.5 to 10.8), widened QRS (RR 4.8; 95% CI 1.8 to 12.9), and hypotension (RR 3.9; 95% CI 2.1 to 7.4). To reduce confounding ingestants, we also compared all patients with an isolated TCA ingestion versus those with BEP. A significant increase in adverse outcomes was again found with the BEP group: seizures (RR 3; 95% CI 1.1 to 8.6), widened QRS (RR 4.8; 95% CI 1.5 to 15.1), and hypotension (RR 3.4; 95% CI 1.9 to 22.3). No deaths or dysrhythmias were found in the BEP group. In conclusion, BEP after TCA ingestion is rare, and death or dysrhythmias did not occur. However, patients with BEP are likely at increased risk for TCA-induced complications.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / adverse effects*
  • Brugada Syndrome* / chemically induced
  • Brugada Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Brugada Syndrome* / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic