The Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, as originally described, includes palpitations, tachycardia, and an abnormal electrocardiogram (short PR interval and wide QRS complex). The clinical manifestations are dependent upon a reentrant tachycardia supported by an accessory connection bridging the atrioventricular junction and frequently appear during the first two decades of life. Palpitations are the usual symptoms; less frequently, severe symptoms, such as syncope and sudden death, may result from very rapid atrioventricular conduction across the accessory connection during atrial fibrillation. We report the surgical management of 30 young patients with this syndrome, including 6 with life-threatening tachycardia. Surgical interruption of the accessory connection(s) was curative in 90% (27/30) of the patients; life-threatening symptoms were eliminated in the other three. Based on the limited knowledge of the natural history of the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, the individual patient symptoms, and the electrophysiologic properties of each patient's accessory pathway(s), an algorithm is presented outlining the treatment options. This experience strongly suggests that surgical treatment of the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is safe, effective, and possibly the preferred treatment for this disorder in selected young symptomatic patients.
- Sudden death
- Supraventricular tachycardia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine