A disruption in the electrical activity between heartbeats
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
The QT interval is the period between heartbeats when the heart’s electrical system recharges. Long QT syndrome (LQTS) disrupts the heart’s electrical activity, causing the heart muscle to take longer than normal to recover after contracting. This irregular heart rhythm can lead to fainting, seizures and, in severe cases, sudden death.
The physicians in our Cardiac Electrophysiology Program are highly trained advanced subspecialists who manage even the most complex arrhythmias. We will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to help you live a full, active life.
Long QT syndrome can be acquired due to a medical condition or as a side effect to a medication. However, it’s more commonly caused by a genetic mutation and is present at birth, known as a congenital condition.
Inherited LQTS occurs in about one out of every 2,000 people, and 15 genes have been identified as causes for the conditions to date. Our Cardiogenetics Program focuses on conditions such as LQTS and offers state-of-the-art research and genetic testing. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with LQTS, talk to your doctor about whether you should consider genetic testing.
What are the symptoms for LQTS?
Long QT syndrome symptoms often are triggered by exercise, heightened emotions or a slow heart rate while sleeping. The most common symptoms include:
Diagnosing a potential heart or vascular condition is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.
An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
An event monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but where an electrocardiogram takes place over a few minutes, an event monitor measures heart rhythms over a much longer time.
A Holter monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram records over a few minutes, a Holter monitor records over the course of a day or two.
Your personal long QT syndrome treatment may include lifestyle modifications such as avoiding strenuous activity or certain medications, medication to manage heart arrhythmia or more advanced treatments, such as implanting a defibrillator.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device implanted below your collarbone that monitors your heart’s rhythm. When it detects an abnormal rhythm, it delivers an electrical impulse or shock to the heart to correct it.