Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What is Long Qt Syndrome? #Meg'sLongQTJourney

I'm bringing Meg's Long QT Journey back starting now. The plan is to post two to three times a week until I'm finished the series and I will let you know when that is at that time.

If you missed the first four posts that I originally did or to refresh your mind, you can read them here:
First Seizure
Second Seizure
Third Seizure and Diagnosis Part 1
Third Seizure and Diagnosis Part 2

Now it's time for what exactly is Long QT Syndrome. But, first, let's talk about how a normal heart works.

How a Normal Heart Works:

To understand long qt syndrome, it helps to know about your heart and how it works. The heart is a muscle and to pump blood to your body, the heart normally beats about 60-100 times a minute. It usually is faster in infants and children.

The heart has four chambers. The upper chambers, called atria, receive blood from your body and lungs. The lower chambers, called ventricles, pump blood out of the heart.

To pump blood well, the heart's chambers must work together to contract and relax at the right rate. Electrical signals that move through your heart control these actions.

The signals start in your sinus node. This is a group of cells in the right atrium. The signals move through the atrium to the atrioventricular node. When they pass through this node, they make your ventricles contract. This is called depolarization.

Your heart's electrical system recharges after each heartbeat. This is called repolarization. The heart relaxes so it can fill with blood and get ready for the next beat. Long QT Syndrome affects this process.

What is Long QT Syndrome?

Long QT Syndrome is a condition that affects your heart's electrical system. If you have LQTS, your heart works correctly as a muscle and a pump. However, your heart either takes too long to recharge between beats or it recharges in a disordered way. As a result, you could develop an abnormal heart rhythm.

An EKG records your heart's electrical activity as waves. These waves are named with the letters P, Q, R, S, and T. The waves Q through T show electrical activity in your ventricles.

The space between the start of the Q wave and the end of the T wave is called the QT interval. It measures how long your heart takes to contract and then fill with blood before the next heartbeat. 

The EKG shows whether your QT interval happens in a normal amount of time. If it takes longer than normal, it is called a prolonged QT interval. 

Basically, Long QT Syndrome can be considered to be a type of arrhythmia, a heart rhythm condition that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats. They can lead to the symptoms of long qt obviously, but I will get into the symptoms in a later post.

Credit and Links
All the above information about the heart works and the explanation of Long QT Syndrome gets credited to Mayo Clinic. They are one of the leading foundations for research and education of Long QT Syndrome in the United States.


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