Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome – Treatment, Symptoms, Surgery

What is Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome?

Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW syndrome) is a disorder in the conduction system of the heart in which there is pre-excitation that occurs.  There is an abnormal additional electrical pathway in the heart that is between the atria and ventricle and it is called Bundle of Kent.  This disorder is often asymptomatic, so people who have the disease are not aware that they have WPW syndrome.

Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome Pictures

Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome Showing An Additional Electrical Pathway from the Atria to the Ventricle


The heart of a person who has WPW Syndrome sends too much electrical impulses to the ventricles thus rapid electrical activity occurs this results in tachyarrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation and cardiac dysrythmias that can also lead to cadiogenic shock.

Since WPW Syndrome is a congenital disorder sudden cardiac death occurs because it is mostly seen or diagnosed in healthy people.

Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome Symptoms

Since WPW syndrome is a disorder of the heart its signs and symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast heartbeats (evident at the chest)
  • Poor appetite
  • Failure to thrive
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Anxiety
  • Easy fatigability
  • Shortness of breath
  • Syncope or episodes of fainting

These signs and symptoms primarily appear during early twenties.  And oftentimes palpitation last for a minute to several hours.  It mostly occurs during exercises.

Symptoms in severe cases

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden death

Causes of Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome

WPW syndrome is a form of tachycardia that results from an extra electrical bundle, which is called an accessory pathway or bypass tract that runs from the atrium to the ventricles.  As a result the conduction runs quickly than in a slower rate because it did not go through the normal pathway, which is the AV node which impedes the flow to facilitate a normal cardiac rate.


There are cases in which WPW syndrome is genetically acquired, but there is a very small percentage of this happening.  Hence, there are also conditions in which WPW syndrome is not inherited through familial cases.


This congenital disorder is diagnosed through an electrocardiogram for those individuals who don’t show any symptoms of the disease, an electrophysiologic study (EPS) or vectorcardiogram.


  • The treatment of choice in WPW Syndrome is electrocardioversion it is used in unstable patients and is also the safest treatment.
  • There are also drugs that are used in WPW Syndrome such as Procainamide, but strictly in the supervision of the cardiologist this is used only in stable patients.
  •  The definitive treatment for WPW syndrome is ablation of accessory pathway.

Prognosis & Life Expectancy

Ablative surgery has a success rate of 85-95%.  However, the rate of the ablative surgery’s success depends on the area or location and the quantity of the accessory pathways.

There is no definitive life expectancy for WPW Syndromes  because if it is treated there would be a good prognosis as well as quality of life.  However, if this disorder is left untreated sudden death may occur.


These complications may include:


WPW Syndrome is a congenital disorder which means it is already present at birth.  It is not the disorder which can be prevented, but only to lessen the signs and symptoms such as the tachycardia episodes.  In this case, people having WPW Syndrome should be aware of the complications of this disease if it will be left untreated.

13 thoughts on “Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome – Treatment, Symptoms, Surgery

  • 12/07/2013 at 9:12 AM

    I merely could not keep your website ahead of hinting i genuinely liked the typical information individuals source in your visitors? Shall be just as before constantly to look into cross-check completely new blogposts

  • 24/08/2015 at 12:05 AM

    I had an ablation 23 years ago at university of Indiana I have had no problem since I would not be alive without having it done I reccomend it highly

    • 30/10/2017 at 7:45 AM

      I had a ablation and surgery, both were failures, I would still recommend trying the ablation. I spent about 15 hours in the Cath lab, unfortunately I still live with WPW and Afib and have all my life (55yo) I believe it was caused by my Dad’s exposure to dioxen ( agent blue, orange etc.) as I was conceived as he performed deforestation in the canal zone for US Army, check CDC for more deseases that these agents cause that the government does not want to talk about.

  • 18/12/2016 at 6:41 PM

    I had a Abalation18 ears ago when I was 38. It changed my life for the better and I’m so glad it was a success

  • 16/07/2017 at 11:38 PM

    I had my ablation in 2008 after experiencing my first bout that wouldn’t self-terminate. It was very scary and I could of died. I was rushed via ambulance to a local hospital. My first attach was 1995 and I have 2 more before my 2008 episode. I am doing well and only experience a few seconds of SVT once in awhile which is common in about 40% of patients after ablation with only WPW syndrome. I highly recommend the procedure.

  • 28/09/2017 at 8:45 AM

    My son has been diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome. He is the military and the doctors is saying he has medical discharge. I am looking for a treatme that can be done. He joined on 2012 he has been promoted 4 time. Thank you for your honest about this treatment. God bless

    • 27/11/2021 at 1:11 AM

      Hello what treatment did your son get

  • 06/11/2017 at 6:05 PM

    why the fuck is it called white syndrome

    • 06/12/2017 at 4:18 AM

      last three names of the cardiologists who are credited with its description

      Louis Wolff
      John Parkinson
      Paul Dudley White

      IE why the fuck its is called Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome

    • 03/11/2018 at 10:32 PM

      To “Anonymous”- Pay attention, and don’t be vulgar! You’re obviously black, and you’re racist, or you wouldn’t be concerned about “white” being in the name of the syndrome. How sad for you!

  • 02/02/2018 at 3:33 PM

    I had the RF ablation done in 2004 successfully. Without it I would’ve
    needed life long medication. The only issue I have is when my heart tries to send electrical impulses through the destroyed electrical pathway. I highly recommend the procedure.

  • 19/08/2018 at 12:05 PM

    I would love to hear from others on this. My email is daforshey@sbcglobal.net
    My son has wpw. He has had two procedures at Stanford and unsuccessful. I would love to hear from you as I’m desperate for advice. Not fun for a 14 year old buy🙏😒boy

  • 10/02/2020 at 10:39 PM

    I had my ablation done in 1991 after I had my first daughter and I have had no complications since I had the procedure done.


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