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Long QT Syndrome and The Effects

Updated on September 8, 2015
Ms LaLa2014 profile image

Ms. Quick is an experienced writer for over 30 years, and a self-published author, including many other talents.

What is Long QT Syndrome?

I find it very interesting that there have been an increasing amount of sudden deaths lately reported of young athletes playing high school football or practicing, and physically fit joggers collapsing with sudden heart attacks or unknown sources of death. The victims were young, strong and seemed in good health.

I also had a loved one who was young, strong and died suddenly. Before his death, he did tell me that his sister, who was a litter older than him, died of a heart disease. Therefore, I wondered if his death was congenital. After his death and hearing of other young men dying suddenly at football practice, I researched the issue of sudden deaths and found out about Long QT Syndrome disease. I learned that it is a heart condition. Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) is a rare disorder of the heart's electrical rhythm that affects children or young adults. LQTS can be present at birth, but it may not be detected until later in adult life.


The Signs and Symptoms

Since there are no signs, Long QT Syndrome is not usually detected. When an ECG is done, then Long QT Syndrome is detected. Some symptoms are fainting, seizures, cardiac arrest or death. The syndrome can go undiagnosed and that is why the deaths from Long QT syndrome seem so sudden, because the syndrome usually goes undiagnosed.

People with Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) do not usually have symptoms unless they develop an arrhythmia. If a person with LQTS heart does begin beating too rapidly, they might faint because their brain is not getting enough oxygen-rich (red) blood as normally. If someone's brain and body doesn't get enough oxygen, they could die without warning.

First they might feel fluttering in their chest. Sometimes a fainting spell is mistaken for a seizure or it seems like a response to stress. This may be the first sign of LQTS. The heart of someone with LQTS can suddenly stop beating, which is called sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest usually causes death.

Pathophysiology and How It Is Diagnosed

LQTS usually shows up when an electrocardiogram (ECG) is done and measures the heart's electrical waves which are named after the letters Q through T - and maps them to a graph to show the electrical activity in the heart's lower chambers. The time between the beginning of the Q wave and the end of the T wave (the QT interval) is how long it takes the heart to contract and then refill with blood. For some people, a prolonged QT interval is due to a genetic heart rhythm disorder. Others may develop the syndrome due to an underlying medical condition, a change in electrolytes or from taking certain medications. Long QT syndrome can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats resulting in fainting, seizures and even sudden death. However, many people who have Long QT Syndrome never experience a symptom. Consequently, the syndrome can go undiagnosed. However, it sometimes shows up in results of an ECG done for an unrelated reason (Mayo Clinic Health Letter, 2014).




It's important to have a health care provider check your child or loved one if they faint, have a seizure or nearly drown if there is no distinctive reason. Electrocardiograms (ECG) can usually detect LQTS in the heart. People should also be checked regularly if you already know they have LQTS or if they have other family members with LQTS. If given early treatment, within minutes, someone can survive (Seattle Children’s Hospital, 2014).

From a clinical test standpoint, patients with a strong clinical index of suspicion for a LQTS diagnosis or an asymptomatic patient with an unequivocal prolonged Qtc genetic tests must be understood as probabilistic rather than unconditionally deterministic, and the genetic test results must be interpreted carefully and incorporated into the overall diagnostic evaluation for LQTS disorders. Beta blockers are extremely protective in LQt1 patients, but are only moderately protective in LQt2 and LQt3. Female LQt2 patients may not be as fully protected with beta blockers as male LQt2 patients. LQTS can start during the first months of life, or as late as middle age.

Long QT Syndrome is a serious, devastating disease leaving many deaths and mourners in its path of destruction. More ECGs need to be done to detect Long QT Syndrome in normal physical examinations in order to stop its devastating effects in children and adults. People who are aware of their LQTS condition can change their lifestyle by not overexerting themselves and reducing stress in their life in order to possibly stop a Long QT Syndrome attack.

Cast your vote for Case Files Family Medicine book - LQTS

© 2015 Ms Quick


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    • Allpeaks profile image

      Austine Misula AllPeaksAuthors 

      3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya



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