Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome means that there is an extra electrical pathway in the heart that can cause a very fast heartbeat. An electrical signal in your heart starts each heartbeat, causing the heart muscle to squeeze (contract). Normally, this signal starts in the upper right chamber of the heart (the right atrium) at a place called the sinus node. The signal then follows pathways to the upper left atrium and to the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles).
In WPW, the extra electrical pathway can cause the heart to beat over 200 times a minute. This may happen only a few times in a person's life, or it may happen as often as once or twice a week.
WPW may cause symptoms as early as the first year of life or not until you are an adult.
People with WPW are born with an extra electrical pathway. Usually a person with WPW does not have other heart problems, but some people may have other heart defects. Heart defects may be inherited, which means that they are passed from parents to children through their genes. Genes are inside each cell of your body. They contain the information that tells your body how to develop and work.
Your child may have no symptoms. If your child’s heart starts beating very fast, it may cause:
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Tests may include:
Your child’s treatment depends on how often he has symptoms and the severity of the symptoms. Your child may not need treatment if:
If your child needs treatment to help the heart keep a normal rhythm, possible treatments are:
Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.