The most common symptoms of catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) are dizziness or syncope (fainting, blacking out, loss of consciousness), usually brought on by stress or exercise. Some patients quickly regain consciousness and can immediately resume regular activities. Others may experience slight fatigue, disorientation, or confusion. A generalized seizure can happen in cases where the ventricular tachycardia persists for a prolonged period of time.
In some cases, the ventricular tachycardia may degenerate into ventricular fibrillation, which requires medical intervention. Unfortunately, some patients with CPVT may die from sudden cardiac arrest if they have not been diagnosed and treated appropriately.
What are the symptoms of CPVT?
- Fainting (syncope)
- Occurring precipitously and without warning
- With stress, exercise, or other activities that generate high adrenaline levels
- With rapidly regained consciousness, often without disorientation or confusion
- Followed by a generalized seizure, in some cases
- Unexplained seizures
- Unexplained arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation, or cardiac arrest
- Normal ECG at rest, but abnormal ECG during exercise test
- Characteristic ECG pattern observed during exercise test that indicates CPVT
Other factors to consider that would suggest CPVT may be present:
- A family history of unexplained syncope, seizures, or sudden death in the young (which may be associated with stress or exercise)
- Lack of dizziness, blurring or blackening of vision, tingling, or sweating prior to the fainting (syncope) episode (these symptoms are typically associated with vasovagal syncope)