This paper reviews the literature on the Bangungot Syndrome since it was first reported by a Filipino Pathologist in 1917. The victims are young (age 20-40 yrs), apparently healthy (no documented illness) males who develop a fatal cardiac arrest during sleep. Autopsies reveal no obvious cause of death. Initially thought to affect Filipinos exclusively, it was late found to affect Japanese men (pokkuri), Thais, Laotians, Kampucheans and Vietnamese.
Investigators later relate the possible relationship of Bangungot Syndrome with the Brugada Syndrome, a condition identified with a typical electrocardiographic feature that could identify possible victims of sudden cardiac death.
This author however doubts that the Bangungot Syndrome and the Brugada Syndrome are one and the same and presents a comparison of the clinical features of the two condition.
The paper propounds the key question to answer to be able to understand the Bangungot syndrome; namely what triggers the attack of cardiac arrhythmia in the victims during sleep.
The possible relationship of abnormal shifts in potassium and other intracellular electrolytes as a trigger mechanism is discussed in this review. (Author)