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QT Syndrome

What is Long QT Syndrome?

Long QT syndrome is a rare disorder of the heart's electrical system. In people with long QT syndrome, the heart's electrical system takes too long to recharge between between beats. When the heart takes too long to recharge between beats, the person may become lightheaded or faint. If the heart does not return to its normal rhythm, death may occur.

If you or a loved on experiences sudden loss of consciousness during physical exertion or during emotional excitement, you should definitely talk with your doctor the possibility of you having long QT syndrome.

Certain conditions can trigger cardiac arrest in people with long QT syndrome. These conditions include swimming, unexpected noise, strong emotion and exercise.

Long QT syndrome is also called LQTS.

Symptoms of Long QT Syndrome

In some cases of Long QT syndrome, symptoms are not present. When symptoms are present, the most common symptoms are: fainting spells and seizures.

What Causes Long QT Syndrome?

The most common cause of long QT syndrome is a defect in heart muscle cell structures called ion channels. These electrical defects predispose affected persons to a very fast heart rhythm which leads to sudden loss of consciousness and may cause sudden cardiac death.

Long QT syndrome may be inherited from your parents. Inherited long QT syndrome is caused by defects on at least 6 genes. Long QT syndrome may also be a result of certain medications.

Can Long QT Syndrome be Treated?

Long QT syndrome can be treated. Treatment will depend on the cause. The most common treatment is to stop taking medication (if caused by a specific medication) or to start taking a new medication. If a change in medication doesn't help, surgery may be needed.

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