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Ask Dr. Nandi: What is Long QT Syndrome?

Posted: 6:02 PM, May 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-02 08:57:13-04

(WXYZ) — Losing a loved one, especially a child is beyond heart-wrenching. Long QT Syndrome is considered a rare condition.

A person may inherit this condition or develop it at some point in their life.

What happens is the heart beats in a fast and chaotic rhythm. And this is due to a malfunction of the electrical circuits of the heart which causes blood to dramatically slow or completely stop pumping.

Often, the experience of extreme emotions such as excitement or fear can trigger the onset. Now warning signs of this condition can include sudden fainting spells, seizures or a child mentioning changes in their heartbeat.

However, it’s quite possible to have no symptoms at all, just like in the case of London Eisenbeis who was a healthy and active child until that fateful day.

If your child has any of the mentioned symptoms, then be sure to see your doctor. If the doctor suspects that your child has LQTS, then there are tests to diagnose the condition, like an in-office ECG or a portable Holter monitor which records heart activity across a day. Also, a non-exercise stress test can be done, and for those with suspected inherited cases of the condition, there is genetic testing that could provide results.

Using an on-site defibrillator may help to restore a regular heartbeat long enough to prevent oxygen deprivation. Most of you likely know that oxygen deprivation is what leads to brain damage. So using a defibrillator could help buy precious time so that the person can get to a hospital and receive the necessary treatment.

Now if you’ve been diagnosed with LQTS, there are several medications that can help to minimize the risk of a dangerous, irregular heartbeat. And for some children, a small defibrillator can be implanted under their skin to reset the heart back to its normal rhythm.