Syncope in Brugada syndrome patients: prevalence, characteristics, and outcome

Heart Rhythm. 2012 Aug;9(8):1272-9. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2012.04.013. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Background: The report from the 2nd Consensus Committee on BrS suggests that all patients with syncope without a "clear extracardiac cause" should have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). However, a clear extracardiac cause for syncope may be difficult to prove.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to characterize syncope in patients with Brugada syndrome (BrS).

Methods: All patients diagnosed with BrS at our institution between 1999 and 2010 were enrolled in a prospective registry. Patients with suspected arrhythmic syncope (group 1) were compared to patients with nonarrhythmic syncope (group 2) and to patients with syncope of doubtful origin (group 3).

Results: Of 203 patients with BrS, 57 (28%; 44 male, age 46 ± 12 years) experienced at least 1 syncope. Group 1 consisted of 23 patients, all of whom received an ICD. In group 2 (17 patients), 3 received an ICD because of a positive electrophysiologic study. In group 3 (17 patients), 6 received an implantable loop recorder and 6 received an ICD. After mean follow-up of 65 ± 42 months, 14 patients in group 1 remained asymptomatic, 4 had recurrent syncope, and 6 had appropriate ICD therapy. In group 2, 9 patients remained asymptomatic and 7 had recurrent neurocardiogenic syncope. In group 3, 7 remained asymptomatic and 9 had recurrent syncope. One patient from each group died from a noncardiac cause.

Conclusion: In the present study, syncope occurred in 28% of patients with BrS. The ventricular arrhythmia rate was 5.5% per year in group 1. In 30%, the etiology of the syncope was questionable. No sudden cardiac death occurred in groups 2 and 3.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brugada Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Defibrillators, Implantable
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Syncope / epidemiology*
  • Ventricular Fibrillation