Ajmaline provocation test

Screening for Brugada syndrome

An ajmaline challenge is a diagnostic procedure to detect Brugada syndrome, a rare but serious electrical heart disorder

What is Brugada syndrome?

Brugada syndrome is an inherited cardiac condition that can cause an abnormally fast heart rhythm and can be fatal.

If you have a family history of the condition, your GP or consultant is likely to suggest an ajmaline challenge to confirm the diagnosis.

Need to know

  • What happens during the Brugada syndrome test? icon plus

    Ajmaline is a drug that causes changes in an electrocardiogram (ECG) in patients with the Brugada syndrome. You'll be asked to lie on a bed while several sensors are attached to your chest, wrists and ankles using small sticky pads. These sensors are connected to the ECG machine, which records the rate and rhythm of your heart.

    A small needle (cannula) will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand, which allows you to be given an injection of ajmaline. Your ECG will then be recorded every few minutes to look for any changes. The test takes around 30 minutes.
  • How to prepare for the screening test icon plus

    Your consultant physiologist will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have. You would normally be asked not to eat anything for six hours beforehand. Like all procedures, there may be some risks or side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • After your test icon plus

    You'll be able to go home after a short period of cardiac monitoring. It's relatively common to experience a metallic taste in your mouth or have slightly blurred vision during the test, but this should go away quickly as the drug wears off.

    Your consultant physiologist will discuss your results with you and let you know about any next steps, including further tests if needed. If a diagnosis of Brugada is confirmed, they'll speak to you about treatment options.

Our cardiologists

Our cardiac departments are managed by cardiac specialist teams that include, cardiac physiologists, cardiac nurses and respiratory physiotherapists, who help support you during any diagnostics tests.

Some of our consultant cardiologists specialise in inherited cardiac conditions and are experienced in managing long-term conditions.  

Our locations

From complex cardiothoracic surgery to tests and diagnostic procedures, we provide exceptional cardiac care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Book diagnostic tests and scans

Our advisors can help with enquiries about booking a diagnostic scan and can help you book an appointment for a diagnostic test or scan once you have been referred by a GP or consultant.

Call us on

020 7079 4344
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