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Genetics and Long QT Syndrome - Healthcare Quality Improvement Campaign
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What is Long QT Syndrome?

Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a heart condition where the heart beats irregularly fast. This disease is often undetected, most often appearing on EKG tests for unrelated symptoms. Long QT Syndrome can cause fainting, seizures, and in extreme cases, heart failure and death.

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LQTS is a genetically inherited cardiac disease, meaning that it is passed from parents to children at birth. Possessing a mutated gene does not necessarily guarantee a destructive form of the disease. While a child is born with the genetic mutation that causes Long QT Syndrome, they may not ever develop a malignant strain of the condition. Many other genetic cardiac conditions, like long QT syndrome, can be managed and mitigated through healthy living and heart habits. Many cases of LQTS are found through cardiac genetic testing, which allows doctors to examine the genetic material for any mutations.

Symptoms of Genetic Long QT Syndrome?

If you experience these symptoms, they may be a sign you are suffering from a genetic long QT syndrome.

  • Fainting: The primary symptom of long QT syndrome. Sudden and unexpected fainting often occurs as the condition worsens.
  • Seizures: Some patients with long QT syndrome often have seizures due to the erratic and quick heartbeat.

These symptoms can be serious and should be treated with caution. Most cases of Long QT Syndrome are undetected until they are symptomatic. From there, a cascade of genetic testing helps identify other family members with the disease.

Treatments for Genetic Long QT Syndrome

There are several ways to help manage LQTS and live a full life. Many include heart-healthy lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Several medications also exist which help alleviate the erratic heartbeats that long QT syndrome causes on the heart. Finally, a few surgeries are available that help reduce the heartrate created by LQTS. Ask your doctor about recommendations for you. Additionally, for those in an older demographic, there are assisted living services that are equipped to handle many types of medical conditions.

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