Exercise Recommendations for Brugada Syndrome

Brugada syndrome is one of the conditions rarely associated with sudden death in young athletes. That said, those with it do need to limit their activity in specific ways.

What Is Brugada Syndrome?

Brugada syndrome is a congenital abnormality in the heart's electrical system. It is seen in young patients (usually in their 20s and 30s, although it can be seen in older people as well), and can lead to sudden death from ventricular fibrillation.

The sudden death in Brugada syndrome is most commonly seen at night, during sleep, and is only uncommonly related to exercise. However, there is some evidence that hyperthermia (high body temperature, a common feature during sustained exercise) may make arrhythmias more likely with Brugada syndrome.

What Are the General Exercise Recommendations For Young Athletes With Brugada Syndrome?

The 2005 36th Bethesda Conference on Eligibility Recommendations for Competitive Athletes with Cardiovascular Abnormalities recommended that people with Brugada syndrome avoid high-intensity exercise. However, these recommendations were liberalized in 2015 by new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Current recommendations stipulate that if young athletes with Brigade syndrome have had no symptoms associated with exercise, it is reasonable for them to participate in competitive sports IF:

  • they, their physicians, and parents or guardians understand the potential risks involved, and have agreed to take necessary precautions

    • they include an automatic external defibrillator (AED) as a normal part of their personal sports equipment
    • team officials are able and willing to use the AED and perform CPR if necessary


    Zipes, DP, Ackerman, MJ, Estes NA, 3rd, et al. Task Force 7: arrhythmias. J Am Coll Cardiol 2005; 45:1354.

    Maron BJ, Zipes DP, Kovacs RJ, et al. Eligibility and disqualification recommendations for competitive athletes with cardiovascular abnormalities. Circulation 2015; DOI:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000236.

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