The Brugada syndrome is an autosomal dominant disease with incomplete penetrance that may cause syncope and sudden cardiac death in young individuals with a normal heart. It is characterized by an electrocardiographic pattern of complete or incomplete right bundle branch block and ST segment elevation in leads V1–V3. One of the genes linked to this syndrome is SCN5A, the gene encoding for the cardiac sodium channel. Mutations in SCN5A cause a functional reduction in the availability of cardiac sodium current in Brugada syndrome. However, only 20–25% of patients affected by this syndrome have mutations on this gene. A novel gene locus on chromosome 3, distinct from SCN5A, has been identified recently. The relative male preponderance of the phenotype, despite equal inheritance of the gene in males and females, has led to the speculation of a role for testosterone in the phenotype. The disease could manifest at first time as cardiac arrest without any previous symptom, and the electrocardiographic pattern could be intermittent, requiring a pharmacological challenge with Class I antiarrhythmic drugs to unmask ST elevation. Several conditions producing Brugada-like electrocardiographic patterns should be borne in mind and excluded while making a diagnosis of the Brugada syndrome. The management is difficult as pharmacological agents are not universally effective. The mode of treatment recommended by the majority of cardiac electrophysiologists is the implantation of a cardioverter defibrillator. Symptomatic patients with inducible ventricular arrhythmias and a positive family history should be considered for prophylactic implantation of a cardioverter defibrillator.
Keywords: Ventricular tachycardia, Ventricular fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Sudden death