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Long QT Syndrome

Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a heart disorder that carries an increased risk of fast, chaotic heartbeats, caused by changes in the electrical system of your heart. This can lead to fainting and, sometimes, to sudden death. It can also cause sudden, uncontrollable arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders) in response to exercise or stress. LQTS is believed to be a problem with the tiny pores – or ion channels – that allow electrically charged ions to flow into the heart. If these pores aren’t working right, or are too few in number, it disrupts electrical activity in the ventricles and causes dangerous arrhythmias. LQTS can be caused by a genetic mutation that a person inherits or can be brought on by certain medications.

Symptoms

  • Sudden, dangerous heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias)
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Drowning or near drowning (possibly due to fainting)
  • Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)

Diagnosis

  • EKG (electrocardiogram) results
  • Medical history and the results from a physical exam
  • Genetic test results

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to prevent life-threatening, abnormal heart rhythms and fainting spells. This is not a cure, but greatly improves survival with this condition.

If you have lower risk of LQTS complications (fainting or dangerous arrhythmias)

  • Implement lifestyle changes such as avoiding strenuous exercise and sports
  • Avoid certain medicines that may trigger abnormal heart rhythms
  • Take medicines such as beta-blockers, which reduce the risk of symptoms by slowing the heart rate

If you have higher risk for LQTS complications (fainting or dangerous arrhythmias)

The electrophysiologists UT Erlanger Cardiology are leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of Long QT Syndrome and other heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). Contact us to learn more.

UT Erlanger Cardiology
Erlanger Medical Mall
979 East 3rd Street
Suite C-520
Chattanooga, TN 37403
423-778-5661