[Risk stratification in Brugada syndrome]

G Ital Cardiol (Rome). 2011 Jun;12(6):400-7. doi: 10.1714/835.9305.
[Article in Italian]


Individuals with type 1 Brugada ECG pattern may suffer from malignant ventricular arrhythmias (Brugada syndrome). Patients with Brugada syndrome and documented cardiac arrest should receive an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. In the remaining subjects, the best management is controversial. Many data suggest that patients with syncope, particularly if they have a spontaneous type 1 ECG pattern, have a significant risk. In the remaining population of asymptomatic subjects, the risk is lower but not negligible. How to manage these latter cases is an unsolved issue. The usefulness of the electrophysiological study (EPS) in risk stratification, i.e. inducibility of sustained ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation, is controversial. Indeed, some authors strongly support the prognostic value of EPS, while others completely deny its usefulness. We recently published our experience concerning the usefulness of a combined approach that considered both clinical data and EPS results; 320 patients (258 males, mean age 43 years) with type 1 ECG were enrolled. No patient had previous cardiac arrest; 54% of patients had a spontaneous and 46% a drug-induced type 1 ECG. One third had syncope, two thirds were asymptomatic; 245 patients underwent EPS; 110 patients received an implantable defibrillator. Patients were followed up for 40 months. During follow-up, 17 patients had major arrhythmic events (MAE) (14 resuscitated ventricular fibrillations and 3 sudden deaths). Both spontaneous type 1 ECG and syncope significantly increased the risk (8.6% and 10.4% event rates vs 2.8% and 1.3%). MAE occurred in 14% of subjects with positive EPS, in no subjects with negative EPS, and in 5.3% of subjects without EPS. All MAE occurred in subjects who had ≥ 2 risk factors (syncope, family history of sudden death and positive EPS). Among these patients, those with spontaneous type 1 ECG had a 30% event rate. In subjects with drug-induced type 1 MAE were rare. In conclusion, 1) in subjects with the Brugada type 1 ECG neither a single clinical risk factor nor EPS alone are able to identify subjects at the highest risk; 2) a multiparametric approach (including syncope, family history of sudden death and positive EPS) helps to identify populations at the highest risk; 3) subjects at the highest risk are those with a spontaneous type 1 ECG and ≥ 2 risk factors; 4) the remainder is at low risk.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brugada Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Brugada Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment