BACKGROUND: There is limited information on ethnic differences between patients with Brugada syndrome (BrS) and arrhythmic events (AEs).
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare clinical, electrocardiographic (ECG), electrophysiological, and genetic characteristics between white and Asian patients with BrS and AEs.
METHODS: The Survey on Arrhythmic Events in Brugada Syndrome is a multicenter survey from Western and Asian countries, gathering 678 patients with BrS and first documented AE. After excluding patients with other (n = 14 [2.1%]) or unknown (n = 30 [4.4%]) ethnicity, 364 (53.7%) whites and 270 (39.8%) Asians comprised the study group.
RESULTS: There was no difference in AE age onset (41.3 ± 16.1 years in whites vs 43.3 ± 12.3 years in Asians; P = .285). Higher proportions of whites were observed in pediatric and elderly populations. Asians were predominantly men (98.1% vs 85.7% in whites; P < .001) and frequently presented with aborted cardiac arrest (71.1% vs 56%; P < .001). Asians tended to display more spontaneous type 1 BrS-ECG pattern (71.5% vs 64.3%; P = .068). A family history of sudden cardiac death was noted more in whites (29.1% vs 11.5%; P < .001), with a higher rate of SCN5A mutation carriers (40.1% vs 13.2% in Asians; P < .001), as well as more fever-related AEs (8.5% vs 2.9%; P = .011). No difference was observed between the 2 groups regarding history of syncope and ventricular arrhythmia inducibility.
CONCLUSION: There are important differences between Asian and white patients with BrS. Asian patients present almost exclusively as male adults, more often with aborted cardiac arrest and spontaneous type 1 BrS-ECG. However, they have less family history of sudden cardiac death and markedly lower SCN5A mutation rates. The striking difference in SCN5A mutation rates should be tested in future studies.