Congenital LQT Syndromes: From Gene to Torsade de Pointes

  • Published : 2002.02.21

Abstract

Congenital Long QT syndrome (LQTs) is a relatively rare pathologic disorder but results frequently in sudden cardiac death. Of the six LQTs that have been clinically described, five have been worked out for their genetic and biophysical profile. Most are generated by mutations which cause a loss of function in two delayed $K^+$ currents, $i_{Ks}\;and\;i_{Kr}.$ One syndrome is generated by mutations in the $Na^+$ channel which causes essentially a gain of function in the channel. Clinically the syndromes are characterized by slowed repolarization of the cardiac ventricular action potential and the occurrence of typical arrhythmias with undulating peaks in the electrocardiogram, called Torsade de Pointes. Arrhythmias are initiated by early or delayed afterdepolarizations and continue as reentry. Triggers for cardiac events are exercise (swimming; LQT1), emotion (arousal; LQT2) and rest/sleep (LQT3). ${\beta}-blockers$ have a high efficacy in the treatment of LQT1 and LQT2. In LQT3 their use is questionable. The study of congenital LQTsyndromes is a remarkable example of how basic and clinical science converge and take profit of each other's contribution.

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