Home > Heart Conditions > Wolffe-Parkinson-White Syndrome

Wolffe-Parkinson-White Syndrome

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 27 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Wolffe-parkinson-white Syndrome

This condition, which affects mainly the very young, causes a fast heart rate and irregular pattern of heart beats. It can be present at birth but may go undiagnosed until adult life whilst testing for other illnesses or during routine screening processes. It can carry no symptoms and be relatively harmless, or can be highly problematic and lead to serious complications.

Causes Of Wolffe-Parkinson-White Syndrome

A normal healthy heart beats due to electrical impulses initiated by the sino-atrial node located in the upper right atrium, the impulse is transmitted to the atrio-ventricular node from where it is conducted down the bundle of his followed by the right and left bundle branches.

In the instance of Wolffe-Parkinson-White syndrome, an extra conduction pathway is present causing the signal to reach the ventricles too early causing the timing of the beating heart to become disturbed, this occurrence is called pre-excitation.

Signs and Symptoms

For those suffering from this condition symptoms can be varied and may differ in severity. For some there may be no apparent symptoms, for others symptoms can include dizziness, feeling faint, or rarely a cardiac arrest can occur.

As this condition causes the heart beat to beat faster than normal, known as tachycardia, the person may feel palpitations or feelings that their heart is racing, even while at rest.It is more common in infants and children and accounts for most of the occurrences of fast heart rate in this group.

Infants suffering from the condition may experience breathlessness and develop changes in their feeding pattern, often causing the parents or carers to seek medical advice.

Treatment Options

As many people are unaware of the condition, the syndrome may be detected on an electrocardiogram (ECG) whilst being tested for other condition or as part of a routine procedure prior to surgery or other medical interventions. It is seen as changes on the ECG and the doctors will normally request further investigations to confirm the condition.

If there are no symptoms the person may be unaware they have the condition and will not need or receive any treatment as they are ignorant of the occurrence. For others the tachycardia can often be treated using drugs, though this may not be adequate for everyone.

In this instance, further intervention is needed, normally using a catheter that is directed to the area containing the extra conductive pathway. The catheter is guided to the appropriate area using x-ray technology and once at its destination radiofrequency waves are passed to the tip aiming to destroy the affected tissue. Once this has been achieved medications and further interventions are not normally necessary.

For some, cardioversion may be necessary during which the heart is gently ‘shocked’ aiming to correct the electrical impulses back into a normal and regular pattern. This is carried out under very controlled direction by professionals and is often successful.For a small minority, the condition may need correcting using open heart surgery, during which the affected area containing the additional pathway is destroyed under direct observation.

Wolffe-Parkinson-White syndrome is a condition that causes a fast heart rate caused by the presence of an additional pathway that conducts the electrical impulses through the heart tissues.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • rafa
    Re: What is Heart Block?
    Hello. I have born first degree heart block. 10 years ago was temporarily changing to 2 degrees, but stay first degree. Am I at high risk…
    24 March 2020
  • Zusi
    Re: Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?
    In Sept '16 I was diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) and in May '17 I had a stroke - the only symptoms…
    3 March 2020
  • Mahendra Gaikwad
    Re: Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?
    Hi Iam 53 years old and living very healthy life. I have blood pressure but it is in normal condition with proper…
    27 February 2020
  • Poppypie1
    Re: What is Heart Block?
    Hi there I had a pacemaker fitted last year for Mobitz II heart block. My pacemaker is set to fire if my rate drops below 60 b/pm. Am I…
    23 January 2020
  • Muss
    Re: Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?
    Hey.... My friend had a hole in his heart since he was born but he discovered it after he turned 17.....now he is 19…
    13 December 2019
  • williniejacobs
    Re: Hole in the Heart
    I was diagnosed of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in 2012 at the age of 63. I had been a heavy smoker, my symptoms started out…
    27 November 2019
  • Abbsx
    Re: Hole in the Heart: What Happens Next?
    i was born with a hole in my heart , when i run i get heart palpitation like symptoms, i have asthma so it might be to…
    15 November 2019
  • MAC
    Re: Hole in the Heart
    I attended pulmonary rehabilitation several years ago and learned the proper techniques for taking my medications, but the medications do not…
    6 November 2019
  • James
    Re: What is Heart Block?
    Hi I have a pacemaker following heart block. Doctors don't know what caused it and told me i should be just fine from now on (I'm only 57…
    28 October 2019
  • puzzled
    Re: Stable and Unstable Angina: What's the Difference?
    Hi, Bit of a puzzler. Was admitted by ambulance after becoming ill. Was grey, soaking with sweat,…
    28 October 2019