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Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome: Symptoms, Cause and Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment | National Heart Centre Singapore

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - What it is

​Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome is a genetic heart condition where there is an extra electrical pathway (circuit) in the heart; leading to abnormal conduction of electrical impulse from the atrial to the ventricles, causing episodes of rapid heart rate. While WPW Syndrome does not cause significant problems for most people, in some patients, it can lead to serious heart conditions like tachyarrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - Symptoms

​Most of the time patient remained asymptomatic. However, in an event of tachyarrhythmias, patients may feel palpitations, giddiness, fainting, shortness of breath or chest discomfort. 

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - How to prevent?

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - Causes and Risk Factors

Electrical signals from the atrium normally go through the atrioventricular (AV) node to reach the ventricles.  The normal conduction down the AV node prevents extra beats from occurring and keeps the next beat from happening too soon. People with WPW Syndrome have an extra, or accessory, pathway that may cause a re-entry circuit, resulting in a very rapid heart rate called supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). 

Patient with atrial fibrillation may also have rapid ventricular rate when rapid and chaotic electric impulses from the atrial are transmitted directly through the accessory pathway to the ventricles. This may result in ventricular fibrillation.

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - Diagnosis

Doctors may recommend a holter test to record the heart’s rhythm over 24 hours to verify your condition. Alternatively, an electrocardiogram (ECG) test may be recommended.

An electrophysiology study is helpful in determining the location of the extra electrical pathyway and ablation can be carried out.

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - Treatments

​Catheter ablation offers a cure for WPW syndrome. In this minimally invasive procedure, a catheter is advanced from the groin to the heart. The exact site of the accessory pathway and radiofrequency energy is delivered to eliminate this accessory pathway. Patients who declined this therapy may be given medication to reduce recurrence of SVT.  

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - Preparing for surgery

​Some medications, which can affect the EPS, should be stopped about three to five days before admission. You will need to fast for about six hours before the procedure. Sedation will be given before the procedure.

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - Post-surgery care

​The nurse will instruct you to rest in bed for about 8 to 12 hours. You can have food and drinks, on returning back to the ward. The nurse will monitor the pulse rate hourly and blood pressure 4 hourly for 24 hours. A telemetry (ECG monitoring device) will be put on when necessary. An intravenous drip may be started and oral medication may be given on return to the ward. Call the nurse or doctor if there is bleeding from the groin.

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome - Other Information

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