Comparative Study
Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Should all individuals with a nondiagnostic Brugada-electrocardiogram undergo sodium-channel blocker test?

BACKGROUND: The diagnostic Brugada-electrocardiogram (Br-ECG) is characterized by "coved-type" ST-segment elevation (type 1) in V(1) to V(2)/V(3). The sodium-channel blocker test is clinically used to unmask diagnostic Br-ECG in patients with nondiagnostic "saddle-back" Br-ECG (type 2 and type 3).

OBJECTIVE: To assess the prognostic value of the sodium-channel blockers test in individuals with a nondiagnostic Br-ECG.

METHODS: We studied 153 consecutive patients (128 men; age 41.7 ± 14.0 years) with a type 2/3 Br-ECG who underwent a sodium-channel blocker test with either flecainide (48%) or ajmaline (52%). Nondiagnostic Br-ECGs were identified during the evaluation of cardiac arrest in 5 patients (3%), syncope in 36 (24%), cascade family screening in 48 (31%), and incidental ECG in 64 (42%). A spontaneous type 1 Br-ECG was systematically excluded by serial ECGs (6.1 ± 0.4) and recording of right precordial leads both at standard and second and third intercostal spaces.

RESULTS: The sodium-channel blocker test result was positive in 76 (50%) patients. During a follow-up of 59 ± 33 months, 9 (5.9%) patients experienced events such as syncope (n = 4), appropriate interventions of defibrillator (n = 4), or sudden death (n = 1). A positive sodium-channel blocker test was associated with a significantly higher event rate in symptomatic patients (P = .01) but not in asymptomatic individuals (P = .18). No events occurred among asymptomatic individuals with an incidental nondiagnostic Br-ECG.

CONCLUSIONS: In asymptomatic individuals with a nondiagnostic Br-ECG, the incidence of events is low regardless of the sodium-channel blocker test result while in symptomatic patients a positive sodium-channel blocker test result is associated with an adverse arrhythmic outcome and may contribute to risk stratification.

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