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Keywords

dysrhythmias, inherited, ion, ion channels, long QT Syndrome, potassium channel, QT interval, sodium channel, syncope, Torsade de pointes, ventricular action potential

 

Authors

  1. Vizgirda, Vida M. MS, RN

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.