Posted by: Curious | 2011-07-28



Please can you give me more information on WPW (wolff parkinson white syndrome)??


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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCardiologist

Hi Curious,

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a condition that affects about 1 in every 1500 people and involves the electrical “wiring” of the heart. Normally there is only one connection between the upper chambers (atria) and lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).

However in patients with WPW there is at least one extra electrical connection between atria and ventricles (“accessory pathway”). As a result of this, electricity from the atria reaches the ventricles faster than usual (“pre-excitation”) causing an abnormal pattern on the surface ECG.

The presence of two pathways connecting atria and ventricles also creates the potential for “re-entry”, a process whereby electricity may go round and round very fast in either direction.

The result is that some patients with pre-excitation or WPW are troubled by abnormal heart rhythms, which can take many forms. Usually the arrhythmias are benign but occasionally they may be very serious.

In the past the only treatment available was drug therapy, but these days accessory pathways can usually be successfully “ablated” using radiofrequency energy delivered via catheters placed in the heart at the site of the accessory pathway. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is therefore one of the few conditions that can be genuinely cured, with ablation therapy. The treatment is safe and very effective.

I hope this is helpful. Regards JT.

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