Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome

(WPW)

Definition

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) is a disorder of the heart’s electrical activity. It causes the heart to beat with an irregular rhythm and faster than normal. This is called tachyarrhythmia.

Causes

In a normal heart, electrical signals that cause the heart to beat begin in the area known as the SA node, located in the right upper chamber (atrium) of the heart. The electrical signal goes from the SA node down to the AV (atrioventricular) node which is between the atria and the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles). The AV node slows down the electrical impulse so that the ventricles have time to fill with blood before contracting.In WPW, the electrical signals travel along an extra, abnormal pathway that go around the AV node. This causes the signals to be unregulated and to arrive at the ventricles too soon. The signals often alert the ventricles to contract abnormally. As a result, the heart beats much faster than normal.The extra pathway is caused by abnormal growth of tissue that connects the heart’s chambers. This occurs in the embryo—during the first 8 weeks after conception.
Electrical Conduction System of the Heart
Electrical conduction of heart
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

There are no known risk factors for WPW syndrome.

Symptoms

Some people with WPW syndrome never have tachyarrhythmia and its associated symptoms. In those who do, symptoms usually begin between ages 11-50. The frequency and severity of the tachyarrhythmia varies from one person to another and may be associated with any or all of these symptoms:
  • Palpitations (sensation of a pounding heartbeat)
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
In rare cases, a person will go into cardiac arrest and lose consciousness.

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals


Chewing Gum After Surgery May Improve Digestive Tract Recovery
April 2015

A systematic review found that participants given chewing gum after abdominal surgery may have a faster return to normal for their digestive system. Unfortunately, the quality of trials is low and more research will need to be done before this simple solution is confirmed.

dot separator
previous editions

Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
February 2015

Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children
February 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook