BACKGROUND: Patients with Brugada syndrome (BrS) have an increased risk of arrhythmias, including atrial tachyarrhythmias (ATas).
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess underlying atrial cardiomyopathy in BrS and the effect of ajmaline (AJM) test on the atrium of BrS patients using electrocardiogram imaging (ECGI).
METHODS: All consecutive patients diagnosed with BrS in a monocentric registry were screened and included if they met the following criteria: 1) BrS diagnosed following current recommendations; and 2) ECGI map performed before and after AJM with a standard protocol. Consecutive patients with no structural heart disease or BrS who had undergone ECGI were included as a control group. Genetic analysis for SCN5A was performed in all BrS patients. Total atrial conduction time (TACT) and local atrial conduction time (LACT) were calculated from atrial ECGI. The primary endpoint was ATas during follow-up.
RESULTS: Forty-three consecutive BrS patients and 40 control patients were included. Both TACT and LACT were significantly prolonged in BrS patients compared with control patients. Furthermore, TACT and LACT were significantly higher after AJM administration and in BrS patients who were carriers of a pathogenic/likely pathogenic SCN5A variant. After a mean follow-up of 40.9 months, 6 patients experienced a first ATa occurrence (all in the BrS group, 13.9%). TACT was the only independent predictor of ATas with a cutoff of >138.5 ms (sensitivity 0.92 [95% confidence interval 0.83-0.98], specificity 0.70 [95% confidence interval 0.59-0.81]).
CONCLUSIONS: ECGI-calculated TACT and LACT are significantly prolonged in BrS patients compared with control patients, and in BrS patients after AJM. This may be consistent with a concealed atrial cardiomyopathy in BrS.