Identification of high-risk syncope related to ventricular fibrillation in patients with Brugada syndrome

Heart Rhythm. 2012 May;9(5):752-9. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2011.11.045. Epub 2011 Nov 26.


Background: Syncope in patients with Brugada syndrome is usually associated with ventricular tachyarrhythmia, but some episodes of syncope can be related to autonomic disorders.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of syncope to differentiate high-risk syncope episodes from low-risk events in patients with Brugada syndrome.

Methods: We studied 84 patients with type 1 electrocardiogram and syncope. Patients were divided into 2 groups: patients with prodrome (prodromal group; n = 41) and patients without prodrome (nonprodromal group; n = 43).

Results: Ventricular fibrillation (VF) was documented at index event in 19 patients: 4 patients (21%) with documented VF experienced a prodrome prior to the onset of VF, whereas 15 patients (79%) did not have symptoms prior to documented VF (P <.01). Twenty-seven patients in the prodromal group and 7 patients in the nonprodromal group were considered to have syncope related to autonomic dysfunction. Syncope in other patients was defined as unexplained syncope. During the follow-up period (48 ± 48 months), recurrent syncope due to VF occurred in 13 patients among patients with only unexplained syncope and was more frequent in the nonprodromal group (n = 10) than in the prodromal group (n = 3; P = .044). In multivariate analysis, blurred vision (hazard ratio [HR] 0.20) and abnormal respiration (HR 2.18) and fragmented QRS (HR 2.39) were independently associated with the occurrence of VF.

Conclusion: Syncope with prodrome, especially blurred vision, suggests a benign etiology of syncope in patients with Brugada syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brugada Syndrome / complications*
  • Brugada Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Syncope / etiology*
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / complications*
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / diagnosis