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BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP)

An estimated 7,000 British Columbians are affected by, or at risk of, an inherited heart rhythm condition. Early diagnosis and effective treatment in those who are at risk can be lifesaving.
Inherited arrhythmia

People with an inherited arrhythmia may experience palpitations, sudden fainting spells or no symptoms at all. A small number of people may be at risk of a sudden cardiac arrest (a condition where the heart stops beating suddenly) and/or sudden cardiac death.

The most common inherited heart rhythm conditions are:

  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)
  • Brugada syndrome
  • Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT)
  • Long QT syndrome (LQTS)

Inherited arrhythmia conditions are complex and many questions remain about their diagnosis and management. A wide range of research is conducted in order to improve diagnosis, provide guidance for lifestyle changes, and develop treatments that improve the outcomes for individuals and families affected by these conditions.


The inherited arrhythmia research team at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver is actively involved in our clinical program. The team is available on clinic days to meet with families interested in participating in our research program. Participation is completely voluntary and has no impact on the quality of care patients receive.


The research team maintains a patient registry and a biobank. Registries and biobanks are resources that collect and store health information and biosamples in a centralized location. This allows for many research projects to use the same resources for studying different aspects of inherited arrhythmias.

 

Patients and families who are willing to participate in research projects can join the BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP) registry. As new research studies are developed, patients within the registry are screened for eligibility and are contacted if they meet the study criteria.

 

Patients of the program are also invited to donate a blood sample for biobanking. Blood samples contain genetic information that can be used to help us learn more about the role of genes, biology and environment in these inherited arrhythmias.

 


Our program

The BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP) provides state-of-the-art care to British Columbians with a history of an inherited arrhythmia (or inherited heart rhythm condition), an unexplained sudden cardiac arrest or a family history of sudden unexpected death. 

BCIAP brings together specialist expertise in adult and pediatric cardiology with medical genetics to identify, screen and manage patients and families affected by an inherited heart rhythm condition. 

BCIAP serves the province through two clinical sites: The Heart Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. The Victoria team also conducts northern outreach clinics at Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton and at the Nisga’a Health Centre in Terrace.

Clinics are held weekly at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and every three weeks at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. For family appointments that include children, pediatric heart rhythm specialists from BC Children’s Hospital attend half-day per month at the Vancouver clinic and every three to four months at the Victoria clinic. Pediatric appointments may also be coordinated on the BC Children’s Hospital site.

Anyone concerned about their family history of a known or suspected inherited heart rhythm condition, or family history of sudden unexplained death, should discuss this history with their doctor. 


Health care providers (specialists and family doctors) can refer eligible patients and/or families to either of the BCIAP’s clinical sites.


Eligible patients/families include: 
  • Patients with a suspected or known diagnosis of an inherited arrhythmia (long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia or arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy) 
  • Patients with a personal history of unexplained sudden cardiac arrest 
  • First degree relatives of the above 
  • Individuals with a family history of sudden unexplained death, (those with a negative autopsy), or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Referral forms

 
 

Resources

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

Brugada syndrome 

Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT)

Long QT syndrome (LQTS) 

General information & support 

Genetic testing 

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SOURCE: BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP) ( )
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