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Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) is an inherited condition that affects the heart’s electrical rhythm and can cause fast, erratic heartbeats. It is characterized by a prolonged QT interval on an EKG.
When your child's doctor studies your child's EKG, she looks at the size and length of each part of the EKG. Variations in size and length of the different parts of the tracing may be significant.
The tracing for each lead of a 12-lead EKG will look different, but will have the same basic components as described above. Each lead of the 12-lead EKG is "looking" at a specific part of the heart from different angles. Variations in a lead may indicate a problem with the part of the heart associated with that particular lead.
In most instances LQTS is caused by an inherited genetic mutation passed down from a family member. Someone who has a first-degree relative—a parent or sibling—with an inherited arrhythmia like LQTS has a 50 percent chance of having the condition themselves as well. LQTS causes approximately 3,000 to 4,000 sudden deaths children and young adults each year in the United States. It can affect children and young adults, with most patients experiencing their first episode before the age of 40.
Symptoms of Long QT Syndrome include:
Long QT Syndrome can occur with symptoms or be asymptomatic (which is when family screening is particularly important. Long QT Syndrome is typically diagnosed as one of the following three types:
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