Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW) is an abnormal heart condition that can cause the heart to beat very fast.

CAUSES

In WPW syndrome, an extra electrical connection (pathway) exists between the top chambers of your heart (atria) and the bottom chambers of your heart (ventricles). This is known as an extra (accessory) pathway. This extra pathway can cause the heart to short circuit and beat very fast.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms in WPW syndrome can vary. These include:

  • Feeling your heart "skip" beats (palpitations).

  • Dizziness.

  • Fainting or near fainting.

  • Sudden death.

DIAGNOSIS

WPW can be diagnosed by different test such as:

  • ECG (electrocardiogram).

  • Echocardiogram.

  • Holter monitoring.

  • Stress testing.

  • Electrophysiology study.

  • Laboratory tests that check certain blood levels.

  • Thyroid study.

TREATMENT

WPW is usually treated in two ways:

  • Radiofrequency destruction (ablation). In this procedure, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is placed in the heart through a vein in the upper leg (groin). The catheter is guided to the extra pathway. The extra pathway is destroyed by using high frequency radio waves.

  • Medicine can sometimes be used to treat WPW.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You feel palpitations that are frequent or continual.

  • You develop chest pain and also have:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Sweating.

  • You become light-headed or faint (pass out).

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.