44. Publication history of the Brugada Syndrome: Did labeling stimulate research?

M. A. Nault, A. Baranchuk, C. S. Simpson, D. P. Redfearn, H. Abdollah


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in healthy young men was first recognized in 1917. Combined with an electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormality reported in 1953, the resulting syndrome would by 1996 eventually be recognized worldwide as Brugada Syndrome (BrS).
There is evidence that “labeling” (i.e. the process of naming a disease state or ascribing a diagnosis) alters perceptions, awareness and behaviours in medicine. Our objective was to determine whether naming a cluster of signs and symptoms as a specific syndrome raised attention given to a previously recognized though poorly defined condition as evidenced through an increase in publications. We hypothesized that naming BrS resulted in such a “labeling” stimulus.
A systematic review of the Pubmed database of indexed journals was performed to identify references to BrS between 1950 and 2006. Search terms were: “Brugada Syndrome”; “Sudden Cardiac Death AND Right Bundle Branch Block”; “Bangungot” (Filipino); “Bangungut” (Filipino); “Pok kuri” (Japanese); “Lai tai” (Thai); “Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome”; and “SUNDS”. Publications identified after 1996 by search strategies other than “Brugada Syndrome” were omitted to avoid double counting.
The search resulted in 1,042 citations. Of these, 208 occurred after 1996 and were omitted, leaving a total of 834 citations to be analyzed. Between 1950 and 1993 a total of 32 publications met the above search criteria. Thereafter, publication rate on this topic increased exponentially from 16 articles in 1994-1995 to 290 in 2005-2006.
Though numerous articles recognized either RBBB-like ECG pattern, ST segment elevation or SCD in otherwise healthy young men, it was not until publication of the 1992 Brugada and Brugada paper that the coexistence of these two conditions was recognized as a syndrome. Rising interest, as identified by publication frequency, preceded the naming of this syndrome by 4 years. This finding suggests that factors other than labeling have also contributed to the publication history of BrS.
Osher H, Wolff L. Electrocardiographic pattern simulating acute myocardial injury. Am J Med Sci 1953; 226:541-5.
Brugada P, Brugada J. Right bundle branch block, persisting ST segment elevation and sudden cardiac death: A distinct clinical and electrocardiographic syndrome. J Am Coll Cardiol 1992; 20:1391-6.
Yan G-X, Antzelevitch C. Cellular basis for the electrocardiographic J wave. Circulation 1996; 93:372-9.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v30i4.2804


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