Lisa Corke is just 23 but she had a near fatal cardiac arrest last month. She has since been diagnosed with a condition called the Long QT syndrome.

Doctors are saying that this is a hereditary condition that is most likely to have caused the death of her grandfather more than three decades ago.

What is Long QT Syndrome?

The condition is so named because of the appearance of the electrocardiogram (ECG) of a sufferer – the Q and the T of the ECG have peculiar prolonged appearances.

This is a rare hereditary condition that causes repolarization of the heart to be delayed after a heartbeat. This increases chances of torsade de pointes or irregular heartbeat.


There are different types of QT Syndrome –  the condition can be hereditary or drug induced but each type is characterized by abnormal repolarization of the heart.

The condition causes irregular heartbeats and increases chances of sudden death.

Can one die laughing?

In particular, the risk of sudden death increases when the person with this condition is in an excited state. This was seen in the case of Alex Mitchell (grandfather of Lisa Corke) who died in 1975.

He had literally died laughing watching a TV episode of the sitcom Goodies. This had then made headlines the world over.

When Lisa Corke recently suffered a near death experience, she had symptoms that were very similar to those of her grandfather just before he passed away.

Whereas his death was put down to cardiac arrest, she was diagnosed with the Long QT syndrome after she suffered from a cardiac arrest. She has now been fitted with an internal cardiac defibrillator.

An automatic internal cardiac defibrillator (AICD) is a device that is implanted (rather like a pacemaker).

These devices work by constantly monitoring the patient’s heart rhythm, and then automatically administering a shock for various life threatening arrhythmias as and when required.

Symptoms of Long QT Syndrome

Fainting is one of the commonly experienced symptoms of this condition. Fainting typically follows exercise or high excitement or anger or being startled. The fainting is usually sudden and without any warning signs.

There could be heart palpitations, lightheadedness, blurred vision and weakness as well. Seizures are sometimes among the symptoms of the condition.

In cases when the heart doesn’t resume its normal functioning after an episode and medical aid is not administered promptly with a defibrillator this can cause sudden death.

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