When four patients died suddenly from cardiac events in 1992, Drs Josep and Pedro Brugada saw something on the ECGs, that was inexplicable. After identifying four more patients, they published these findings and opened up a new area in medicine on sudden, unexplained cardiac death. Brugada syndrome is a disease that increases the risk of fatal abnormal heart rhythms. After this initial discovery, it would take another six years for their brother, Ramon Brugada, to find a potential genetic cause for this disorder, which affects between 1 and 30 in every 10,000 people.
Brugada Syndrome causes serious, abnormal heart rhythms, such as ventricular fibrillation, where the heart quivers instead of pumps, or polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, fast heart rate caused by improper electrical activity. Both of those conditions put individuals at risk for sudden cardiac death. The signs and symptoms of Brugada are vasovagal syncope, a sudden drop in blood pressure that causes blackouts or an untreated heart rhythm that causes sudden death.
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