“Acquired” Brugada syndrome in a cardiac allograft

Alyssa Power, Áine Lynch, Laura Zahavich, Sébastien A. Lévesque, Elizabeth A. Stephenson, Emilie Jean-St-Michel, Anne I. Dipchand, Aamir Jeewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Brugada syndrome is an inherited channelopathy characterized by arrhythmia and an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Implantation of a defibrillator for primary or secondary prevention is the only effective strategy to decrease the risk of SCD in Brugada syndrome. We present a case in which a cardiac donor had a pathogenic variant for Brugada syndrome, discovered on genetic testing after transplantation. Case report: A young child with dilated cardiomyopathy underwent orthotopic heart transplantation from a donor with in-hospital cardiac arrest in the context of fever and a normal ECG. Approximately 1 month after transplant, the donor's post mortem genetic testing revealed a pathogenic loss-of-function SCN5A variant associated with Brugada syndrome, which was confirmed on genetic testing on a post-transplant endomyocardial biopsy from the recipient. The recipient's post-transplant electrocardiographic monitoring revealed persistent right bundle branch block and progressive, asymptomatic sinus node dysfunction. The recipient was managed with precautionary measures including aggressive fever management, avoidance of drugs that increase arrhythmia risk in Brugada syndrome, and increased frequency of arrhythmia surveillance. The recipient remains asymptomatic at over 3 years post-transplant with preserved graft function and no documented ventricular arrhythmias. Conclusion: We describe the clinical course of “acquired” Brugada syndrome in a cardiac allograft recipient, which has not been previously reported. The time-sensitive nature of donor organ selection, especially in critically ill recipients, combined with the growing use of molecular autopsies in patients with unexplained etiologies for death may increasingly result in important donor genetic information being made available after transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14276
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • genetics
  • heart transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Transplantation


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