There may be a link between a rare heart condition known as long QT syndrome (LQTS) and a risk of having epileptic seizures, according to a study published in the scientific journal Neurology. This means that by screening for the genes that cause LQTS, clinicians could potentially predict someone’s risk of seizures.The study authors say that this is an example of how ‘looking outside the classic organ of interest’ can sometimes be helpful in tackling a certain condition.In a press release, First Author Dr David Auerbach, Senior Instructor of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said: “You could begin applying these findings today by telling physicians treating LQTS patients to look outside the heart.”Using the Rochester-based LQTS patient registry, which contains information about more than 18,000 people with LQTS and their family members, the researchers analysed 965 people with three different LQTS-causing mutations, and 936 people without any LQTS mutations.They found that all of the LQTS mutations were associated with similar heart rhythm characteristics, but very different seizure frequencies. Seizures were a lot more common in people with LQT1 or LQT2 mutations than in those with LQT3 or no mutation, and people with LQT2 were at greatest risk of having seizures.When the researchers looked into the LQTS-causing genes in more detail, they saw that the risk of seizures, and of heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), was influenced by the specific location of the mutation on the genes. For example, in some cases a mutation in a certain location increased the risk of seizures and arrhythmias, but the same mutation on the same gene but in a different location decreased the risk.LTQS is a rare genetic condition in which repolarisation of the heart is delayed after a heartbeat, resulting in fainting and sometimes even sudden death. Mutations in three different genes are associated with LQTS: KCNQ1 (LQT1), KCNH2 (LQT2), and SCN5A(LQT3).Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about conditions related to epilepsy.