How is Long QT Syndrome treated?

The goal of treating long QT syndrome (LQTS) is to prevent life-threatening, abnormal heartbeats and fainting spells. Treatment isn't a cure for this condition and may not restore a normal QT interval on an ECG. But treatment does greatly improve survival.

People at higher risk are those who have fainted or who have developed dangerous heart rhythms from their LQTS in the past.

Common treatment options for people with LQTS include the following:

  • Make lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of fainting or SCA. These may include avoiding competitive sports and strenuous exercise, such as swimming, which can cause abnormal heartbeats.
  • Avoid medicines that may trigger symptoms. This may include some medicines used to treat allergies, infections, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and depression. The type of LQTS you have will determine which medicines you take to avoid abnormal heart rhythms. For example, doctors usually only will prescribe sodium channel blocker medicines for people who have LQTS 3.
  • Take medicines, such as beta-blockers, which reduce the risk of symptoms by slowing your heart rate.

If your doctor thinks you are at higher risk for LQTS complications, he or she may suggest a variety of treatments, including medicines and lifestyle changes. Other treatments include:

  • A surgically implanted device, such as a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). These devices help regulate your heartbeat.
  • Surgery on the nerves that regulate your heartbeat.