Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is a condition characterized by an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). As the heart rate increases in response to physical activity or emotional stress, it can trigger an abnormally fast and irregular heartbeat called ventricular tachycardia. Episodes of ventricular tachycardia can cause light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting (syncope). In people with CPVT, these episodes typically begin in childhood.
If CPVT is not recognized and treated, an episode of ventricular tachycardia may cause the heart to stop beating (cardiac arrest), leading to sudden death. Researchers suspect that CPVT may be a significant cause of sudden death in children and young adults without recognized heart abnormalities.
The prevalence of CPVT is estimated to be about 1 in 10,000 people. However, the true prevalence of this condition is unknown.
CPVT can result from mutations in two genes, RYR2 and CASQ2. RYR2 gene mutations cause about half of all cases, while mutations in the CASQ2 gene account for 1 percent to 2 percent of cases. In people without an identified mutation in one of these genes, the genetic cause of the disorder is unknown.
The RYR2 and CASQ2 genes provide instructions for making proteins that help maintain a regular heartbeat. For the heart to beat normally, heart muscle cells called myocytes must tense (contract) and relax in a coordinated way. Both the RYR2 and CASQ2 proteins are involved in handling calcium within myocytes, which is critical for the regular contraction of these cells.
Mutations in either the RYR2 or CASQ2 gene disrupt the handling of calcium within myocytes. During exercise or emotional stress, impaired calcium regulation in the heart can lead to ventricular tachycardia in people with CPVT.
When CPVT results from mutations in the RYR2 gene, it has an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Autosomal dominant inheritance means that one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. In about half of cases, an affected person inherits an RYR2 gene mutation from one affected parent. The remaining cases result from new mutations in the RYR2 gene and occur in people with no history of the disorder in their family.
When CPVT is caused by mutations in the CASQ2 gene, the condition has an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. Autosomal recessive inheritance means that both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
- bidirectional tachycardia induced by catecholamines
- Catecholamine-induced polymorphic ventricular tachycardia
- familial polymorphic ventricular tachycardia
- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: Fast Arrhythmias
- Disease InfoSearch: Familial Ventricular Tachycardia
- KidsHealth from the Nemours Foundation: Arrhythmias
- MalaCards: catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia
- Merck Manual Consumer Version: Ventricular Tachycardia
- Orphanet: Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia