A disorder of the heart’s electrical system, the Long Q-T Syndrome (LQTS) can happen to people who are normally healthy. The name is a product of the hearts activity as recorded during an ECG or EKG (Electrocardiogram). The electrical activity that is recorded during the tests has a pattern, the different parts are known with letters P, Q, R, S and T. The space between Q and T or the QT Interval is the time taken by the electrical signal to pass through the ventricles or the lower chambers of the heart. If this interval is longer than normal, then it is known as a long QT interval.
For people who a Long QT interval shows up may not necessarily have a long QT at all times. In fact, sometimes people who have this disorder may show up with an ECG with a normal or borderline interval. People who have this disorder will experience a prolonged QT interval when they experience intense emotion, while they are exercising or when they are surprised.
There is one type of inherited Long QT Syndrome where a person could be born with hearing impairment. LQTS could be an inherited and congenital problem and could be present in a person from birth. Disrupted hand rhythms and prolonged Q-T intervals could also be a result of certain medication.
Not everyone with LQTS may have symptoms. A few symptoms that may appear include, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rate and rhythms of heartbeats), fainting without any reason and seizures without any reasons. If the condition goes untreated, it could lead to sudden death.
If you do have a family history of LQTS or unexplained seizures and fainting, or even sudden death, you should tell your health practitioner about the same as you too could be at risk of the same.
To diagnose LQTS one needs to undergo electrocardiogram to identify prolonged QT intervals. This is basically a printed record of the electrical activities of your heart, and it gives information about the heart damage, rhythm, chambers and various other abnormalities as well.
This may be a difficult condition to diagnose as often people with LQTS do not display a long QT interval on an ECG. And therefore, it is important that patients consult a specialist/ cardiologist who specializes in cardiac rhythm disorders to do further tests. Other tests may include genetic testing and exercise stress testing.
LQTS is a condition that is treatable and one’s doctor will prescribe medication, surgery and also suggest lifestyle changes that can help one live better.
Certain cases may require one to undergo a surgery on the nerves, which are responsible to regulate one’s heartbeat and one could also need an implantable cardioverter defibrillator or ICD, that is if abnormal heart rhythms are caused.
If a person is diagnosed with LQTS, one needs to make some definite lifestyle changes along with medication that has been prescribed by the cardiologist. Certain activities and sports that may cause the patient to faint should be avoided. It is important that the condition is discussed thoroughly with one’s cardiologist to know what lifestyle changes are to be made. In fact one could also consult a Registered Holistic Nutritionist to learn what diet should be followed to maintain a healthy heart. One should also consult a homeopath to find out how some natural remedies can help keep one’s heart strong.