- Atrial fibrillation (also referred to as AFib) is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm.
- AFib is caused by abnormal electrical discharges (signals) that generate chaotically throughout the upper chambers of the heart (atria).
- AFib reduces the ability of the atria to pump blood into the ventricles, and usually causes the heart to beat too rapidly.
- One-half million new cases of atrial fibrillation are diagnosed every year in the U.S., and billions of dollars are spent annually on its diagnosis and treatment.
What is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome?
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a specific type of abnormality of the electrical system of the heart. This syndrome causes a specific pattern on an electrocardiogram (Wolff-Parkinson-White pattern) and is linked to an episode of rapid heart rates, such as supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) or atrial fibrillation. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a treatable medical condition.
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is also referred to as WPW syndrome and pre-excitation syndrome.
Who gets Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome?
Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome can affect all ages but is usually diagnosed in children, adolescents, and young adults. Except in rare circumstances, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is not a hereditary condition.
What causes Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome?
The heart has internal electrical “wiring” that is essential for proper pumping of blood to the rest of the body. In some people, an abnormal extra “wire” is present. This additional connection can cause a short-circuiting that causes the heart to beat very rapidly. This causes abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) testing with rapid rate rhythms called supraventricular tachycardia or SVT. Of note, the presence of a cardiac arrhythmia such as SVT can be from other heart conditions that are not Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
What are the signs and symptoms of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome?
Individuals affected by Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome can experience palpitations, rapid heart rates, difficulty breathing, and lightheadedness as well as near loss of consciousness and complete loss of consciousness. For the most part, these symptoms occur all of a sudden and are not associated with warning signs. Usually, there are no dramatic triggers, however, caffeine, alcohol, and exercise can cause the heart to start racing.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/7/2016