Welcome to the BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program!

In early 2013, a new provincial heart program was established to provide excellent 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.

Who we are, What we do: 
The BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP) combines the expertise of specialists in both adult and pediatric cardiology (heart specialists) with medical genetics, to identify, screen and manage patients and families affected by an inherited heart rhythm condition. The most common inherited heart rhythm conditions are Long QT syndrome (LQTS), Brugada syndrome, Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT) and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC).

Who do we see? 
The estimated 7000 British Columbians who are affected by or predisposed to one of these conditions may experience palpitations, sudden fainting spells or no symptoms at all. In a small number of people, these conditions can cause a sudden cardiac arrest (a condition where the heart stops beating suddenly) and/or sudden cardiac death. Nearly 50 sudden unexpected deaths occur every year in British Columbia. Inherited heart rhythm conditions may be the explanation in almost a third of these cases. Early diagnosis and effective treatment in those who are at risk can be life saving.

What can patients expect? 
Patients referred to the program will meet with a team of health care professionals; including a heart rhythm specialist, a genetic counsellor, and a nurse for a complete review of their personal and family history related to the inherited heart rhythm condition. Families will undergo clinical evaluation and receive genetic counselling.

All patients are offered the option to meet with the BC Inherited Arrhythmia research team to discuss the option of enrollment in research registries

Other than caring for patients and families, the BCIAP wants to: 
1. Raise public and provider awareness around inherited heart rhythm conditions through educational opportunities, public media and publications

2. Participate in the development of evidence-based best practice guidelines and policies to improve the care provided to families affected by inherited heart rhythm conditions and sudden cardiac arrest

3. Lead and participate in local, national and international research projects with the goal of improving the care and management of these conditions.

The Specialist Services Committee (SSC), a partnership of the BCMA and the Ministry of Health, granted approximately $500,000 in funding for the program, and Cardiac Services BC will support the ongoing sustainability of the provincial program in collaboration with regional health authorities.

News release and Background Information – links