Ajmaline, whose brute or molecular formula is: C20H26N2O2 is an alkaloid found and can be extracted from Rauvolfia serpentina (Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. Ex Kurz).
The extract of the plant has been used in India for millennia and even Mahatma Gandhi used it during his life for its tranquilizing properties.
The Rauvolfia serpentina, was used in the past for the therapy of some cardiac arrhythmias, even if it was not known that these properties were related to ajmaline,
Ajmaline is an alkaloid with blocking properties of cardiac sodium channels and therefore included in class 1A of antiarrhythmic drugs.
Its use is reported in the diagnosis of Brugada syndrome.
Brugada Syndrome is a hereditary, genetically transmitted heart disease characterized by a malfunction of a part of the membrane that covers the cells of the heart (ion channels) which, in turn, causes characteristic changes in the electrocardiogram and a predisposition to arrhythmias malignant ventricles. These alterations are not always present, but they can vary over time and be accentuated by some drugs or physical conditions (such as fever).
Individuals suffering from Brugada syndrome will be more sensitive to the arrhythmogenic effects of the drug, and this can be seen on an electrocardiogram as an ST-segment elevation.
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