Prevalence of spontaneous type I ECG pattern, syncope, and other risk markers in sudden cardiac arrest survivors with Brugada syndrome

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2019 Feb;42(2):257-264. doi: 10.1111/pace.13587. Epub 2019 Jan 6.


Introduction: A spontaneous type I electrocardiogram (ECG) pattern and/or unheralded syncope are conventionally used as risk markers for primary prevention of sudden cardiac arrest/death (SCA/SCD) in Brugada syndrome (BrS). In this study, we determine the prevalence of conventional and newer markers of risk in those with and without previous aborted SCA events.

Methods: All patients with BrS were identified at our institute. History of symptoms was obtained from medical tests or from interviews. Other markers of risk were also obtained, such as presence of (1) spontaneous type I pattern, (2) fractionated QRS (fQRS), (3) early repolarization (ER) pattern, (4) late potentials on signal-averaged ECG (SAECG), and (5) response to programmed electrical stimulation.

Results: In 133 patients with Bars, 10 (7%) patients (mean age = 39 ± 11 years; nine males) were identified with a previous ventricular fibrillation/ventricular tachycardia episode (n = 8) or requiring cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (n = 2). None of these patients had a prior history of syncope before their SCA event. Only two (20%) patients reported a history of palpitations or dizziness. None had apneic breathing and three (30%) patients had a family history of SCA. From their ECGs, a spontaneous pattern was only found in one (10%) of these patients. Further, 10% of patients had fQRS, 17% had late potentials on SAECG, 20% had deep S waves in lead I, and 10% had an ER pattern in the peripheral leads. No significant differences were observed in the non-SCA group.

Conclusion: The majority of BrS patients with previous aborted SCA events did not have a spontaneous type I and/or prior history of syncope. Conventional and newer markers of risk appear to only have limited ability to predict SCA.

Keywords: Brugada syndrome; risk stratification; sudden cardiac arrest.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brugada Syndrome / complications*
  • Brugada Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Survivors
  • Syncope / epidemiology
  • Syncope / etiology*
  • Syncope / physiopathology*