Long QT syndrome is an abnormality occurring in the heart’s electrical signal conduction. The LQTS may lead to cardiac arrhythmia as the channels which regulate the transport of ions have either partial or complete loss of function. This results in the erratic conduction of electrical impulse and resulting in an abnormal rhythm in the heart. When the condition becomes severe, the patient may experience cardiac arrest or sudden death. LQTS may be genetic or acquired. In the genetic long QT syndrome, the genes responsible for channel formation and regulation fails to express them efficiently leading to loss of function. In acquired long QT syndrome, the reasons may be the medications which prolong the QT interval or there might be deficiency of calcium or potassium. The treatment may include drugs such as beta blockers. However, patient is advised to consult with the physician prior to administering any drug of his own especially over-the-counter drugs.
What Is The Life Expectancy With Long QT Syndrome?
Many patients suffering from long QT syndrome has no symptoms and the condition is diagnosed while routine checkup is done. The patients who are asymptomatic and undiagnosed, but have the mutated genes have normal life expectancy. However, chances are high that the patients may transfer the mutated genes to the next generation which may then become symptomatic. Those patients who are diagnosed through routine check-up may end up with showing symptoms. So, care should be taken with such patients to reduce the symptoms. These patients have normal life expectancy when proper lifestyle modification is done such as to avoid strenuous exercise and avoiding loud noises and maintaining electrolytic balance. Patients with syncope are treated with utmost precision and beta blockers and calcium channel blockers are used to treat such patients. In severe cases, ICD is used to prevent the fatal arrhythmia.
About half of the long QT syndrome patients does not experience any particular symptoms and they condition is diagnosed in them during a routine checkup. However, if the condition presents its symptoms, the patient may feel loss of consciousness known as syncope. The condition is more pronounced when the patient undergoes strenuous exercise or under emotional stress. Further, the condition may be aggravated by loud noises. Sometimes the symptoms are mild, and the patient may return to normal. However, if the condition persists for some time, there might be the seizure like symptoms. In severe conditions, the heart experiences severe arrhythmia, which may lead to ventricular fibrillation which is a serious condition and required immediate medical intervention. If the ventricular fibrillation remains uncontrolled, the long QT syndrome patient experiences cardiac arrest or death may occur.
The approach for the treatment of long QT syndrome is generally to reduce ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest. The treatment may include drugs, changes in lifestyle and in patients at higher risk may also include surgery. Further, the treatment also includes the supplementation of calcium and potassium when the reason for LQTS is hypocalcemia or hypokalemia. The drugs used to treat long QT syndrome and related complications are beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. In certain cases, antiepileptic drugs are also used to reduce the risk of seizures. It is also advised to the patients to refrain from taking any drug, even if it is over-the-counter drug, without taking consultation from the medical practitioner. Further, in sever case, to prevent the patient from fatal arrhythmia, ICD (Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator) are used.
Further, patient should avoid strenuous exercise and loud sounds as it may aggravate the arrhythmic condition.
Long QT syndrome is a condition of abnormal heart beat, known as arrhythmia, due to variations in the electrical conductivity within the heart. The treatment depends upon the severity of the disease and includes lifestyle modifications and drugs. The drugs include the beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. The lifestyle modifications are avoiding strenuous exercise and loud noises. Further, the electrolytic balance should be maintained and the drugs which induces prolong QT interval are avoided. With proper care and treatment, the patient has normal life expectancy. In severe cases, ICD is used.
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