PMID: 10386270Jul 1, 1999Paper

The genetic basis for cardiac dysrhythmias and the long QT syndrome

The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
V M Vizgirda

Abstract

Cardiac muscle excitation is the result of ion fluxes through cellular membrane channels. Any alterations in channel proteins that produce abnormal ionic fluxes will change the cardiac action potential and the pattern of electrical firing within the heart. The idiopathic long QT syndrome (LQTS) is an inherited cardiac pathology localized to mutated genes encoding for myocardial, voltage-activated sodium and potassium ion channels. The expression of abnormal sodium and potassium channels results in aberrant ionic fluxes that produce a prolonged ventricular repolarization. This prolonged time to repolarization is the electrophysiologic basis for prolongation of the QT interval. Individuals with LQTS are at significant risk for developing lethal ventricular dysrhythmias due to an abnormal pattern of cardiac excitation. Identification of a genetic basis for LQTS has had significant implications for genetic counseling, the development of effective antidysrhythmic drug therapies, and nursing interventions.

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