Long QT syndrome 

A heart rhythm disorder that is usually inherited

Long QT syndrome (LQTS) affects the bottom chambers of the heart, causing a rapid heart rate and abnormal rhythm

About Long QT syndrome

Long QT syndrome is usually inherited but it can be caused by certain medications. It affects the bottom pumping chambers of the heart (ventricles), and can cause a fast and dangerous heart rhythm that can lead to fainting or even cardiac arrest.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of long QT syndrome? icon plus

    Some people with LQTS have no symptoms and the condition is only detected on a heart monitor or during an electrocardiogram (ECG) carried out for other reasons. Some symptoms include:

    These symptoms can be triggered by strenuous exercise, stress, a sudden noise or a slow heart rate while sleeping.

  • Diagnosing LQTS icon plus

    An electrocardiogram (ECG) is the main way to detect long QT syndrome. If you have this condition, it shows up on an ECG as a lengthened QT interval, which is part of the heartbeat cycle.

    Sometimes other tests are needed such as an exercise ECG, which is an ECG carried out during physical exertion. Alternatively, you may be given a Holter monitor, which is a portable ECG recording device to wear for up to a few days to get more readings. Genetic testing can also be carried out and may help determine your type of LQTS.

  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment can help prevent the symptoms of LQTS and minimise the risk of fainting or cardiac arrest. Inherited LQTS is usually treated with medicines. Depending on your symptoms, you may also need to have an implantable cardioverter defribillator device fitted. This is implanted under the skin on your chest and wires connect it to your heart. It monitors your heart rhythm and can give a brief electrical shock to reset the rhythm. People with non-inherited LQTS are usually treated by changing the medicines that caused the problem.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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