Brugada Syndrome Clinical Presentation

Updated: Apr 03, 2020
  • Author: Jose M Dizon, MD; Chief Editor: Mikhael F El-Chami, MD  more...
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History and Physical Examination


Syncope and cardiac arrest are the most common clinical manifestations leading to the diagnosis of Brugada syndrome. Nightmares or thrashing at night may occur. However, some patients remain asymptomatic, and the diagnosis of Brugada syndrome is suggested by a routine electrocardiogram (ECG) showing ST-segment elevation in leads V1 through V3.

A family history of sudden cardiac death is common, though not universal, as the syndrome can occur sporadically. In about 20% of patients, atrial fibrillation is an associated arrhythmia. [1]

The context of the cardiac event is important. In many cases, cardiac arrest occurs during sleep or rest. Cases occurring during physical activity are rare. Fever is often reported to trigger or exacerbate the clinical manifestations of Brugada syndrome.

A 2012 study suggested that the quality of symptoms prior to syncope can predict a benign or malignant cause in patients with Brugada syndrome. Specifically, the lack of a prodrome was more common in patients with ventricular fibrillation documented as the cause of syncope. [2]

Physical examination

The physical examination is usually normal in patients with Brugada syndrome. Nevertheless, physical examination is required to rule out other possible cardiac causes of syncope or cardiac arrest in an otherwise healthy patient (eg, heart murmurs from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or from a valvular or septal defect).