Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a cardiac rhythm disorder with a risk of sudden death. Myocardial repolarization causes LQTS and shows a prolonged Q-T interval on electrocardiogram (ECG) test. This repolarization causes a particular ventricular tachycardia, known as torsades de pointes. Women may experience heart palpitations, syncope, seizures, and cardiac arrest.
LQTS may be congenital or acquired. The most common acquired form is autosomal dominant, and is solely a cardiac disorder. Genetic testing for the several known mutations that cause LQTS is commercially available. There is also an autosomal recessive type that is associated with deafness and a poor prognosis.
LQTS treatment generally involves beta blockers since they reduce syncope and mortality. All patients that show symptoms of LQTS are treated, and even some asymptomatic patients are too. There are more invasive treatments available, including ablation, implantable pacemakers, and cardiac pacing.
The natural increased heart rate seen in pregnant women may reduce or shorten their Q-T interval, which lowers their risk of complications during pregnancy. However, postpartum, there is a high risk of complication. One study showed a 23 percent increased risk of cardiac events in the 40 weeks after pregnancy, opposed to a 3.8 percent risk of cardiac event during pregnancy.
Pregnant women with Long QT syndrome are recommended to continue beta blockers during and after pregnancy. Pregnant women who experience LQTS should seek a professional who specializes in this disorder.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!