Background: A high prevalence of atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter (AF/AFl) has been reported in small series of Brugada patients, with discordant data.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze, in a large population of Brugada patients, the prevalence of AF/AFl, its correlation with prognosis, and the efficacy of hydroquinidine (HQ) treatment.
Methods: Among 560 patients with Brugada type 1 ECG (BrECG), 48 (9%) had AF/AFl. Three groups were considered: 23 patients with BrECG pattern recognized before AF/AFl (group 1); 25 patients first diagnosed with AF/AFl in whom Class IC antiarrhythmic drugs administered for cardioversion/prophylaxis unmasked BrECG (group 2); and 512 patients without AF/AFl (group 3). Recurrence of AF/AFl and occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias were evaluated at follow-up.
Results: Mean age was 47 ± 15 years, 59 ± 11 years, and 44 ± 14 years in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Seven subjects (32%) in group 1 had syncope/aborted sudden death, 1 (4%) in group 2, and 122 (24%) in group 3. Ventricular arrhythmia occurred in three patients in group 1, none in group 2, and 10 in group 3 at median follow-up of 51, 68, and 41 months, respectively. Nine patients in group 1 and nine in group 2 received HQ for AF/AFl prophylaxis; on therapy, none had AF/AFl recurrence.
Conclusion: Prevalence of AF/AFl in Brugada patients is higher than in the general population of the same age. Patients in group 1 are younger than those in group 2 and have a worse prognosis compared to both groups 2 and 3. HQ therapy has proved useful and safe in patients with AF/AFl and BrECG.