Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) | Diagnosis and Treatment

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Contact the Inherited Cardiac Arrhythmia Program

How is long QT syndrome diagnosed?

Diagnosis of long QT syndrome (LQTS) can be difficult, as many children don’t have symptoms. If your doctor suspects your child has LQTS, he or she may suggest testing. Tests may include:

What are the treatment options for long QT syndrome?

Treatments for LQTS range from lifestyle changes to surgery. The type of treatment your child’s doctor recommends will be based on his or her individual condition.

Lifestyle treatments

Lifestyle changes may include:

  • reducing stress, caffeine or alcohol, which can provoke arrhythmias
  • changes in diet
  • staying hydrated to maintain electrolytes (sodium and potassium) before, during and after activities
  • restricting some exercise or competitive sports.

Medications

Your child’s doctor may prescribe beta-blockers or other types of medications to reduce arrhythmias and risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

Surgery

Some children with LQTS may need surgery. Options may include:

  • Ablation: This surgical procedure eliminates extra or abnormal electrical pathways within the heart that can cause fast or irregular heart rhythms.
  • Pacemaker: This electronic device is placed surgically inside the body to regulate the heartbeat.
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): This small device, similar to a pacemaker, is implanted under the skin, often in the shoulder area. An ICD senses heart rate and, if it exceeds a certain rate, delivers a small, electrical shock that slows the heart down. Some ICDs are combined with a pacemaker to deliver electrical signals to interrupt arrhythmias.
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