Hi, I'm looking for a definition for a heart condition (disease?) called "WolffParkinsonWhite".
I would be grateful for any leads or explanations - very hard to find (in English).
Basically Wolff-Parkonson-Wright Syndrome is characterized by an extra electrical pathway in the heart, called an accessory pathway, that short circuits the AV node. In a normal heart,the electrical pacing signal is first generated in the SA node in the right atrium, causing the atria to contract as the signal propagates. The signal then passes through the AV node to be delivered to the ventricles where it causes them to contract, The AV node has an important function in slowing down the pulses (for the right timing) as well as limiting the overall heart rate. If the atrial rate suddenly shoots up to say 300 bpm, the AV node limits the maximum heart rate so that you don't faint. With the WPW accessory pathway you don't get this protection. Even worse, the accessory pathway can contribute to a feedback loop causing an extremely fast heart beat called a reentry tachycardia. If this causes ventricular fibrillation, it can be very dangerous.
So the symptoms are an occasional racing heart, dizziness, anxiety, palpitations and shortness of breath.Fortunately this syndrome can be treated with meds or a minor surgical procedure called an rf ablation where the accessory pathway is in effect burned away.
Harry, I was diagnosed with WPW in 1977, I also have PVC's and have been in A-fib twice in the past two years and once in 1998. In 1998 I had a catheter ablation for the a-fib.....but the Dr was unable to complete the ablation because he couldn't find the extra pathway.
On Monday, March 21, two days ago, I went to Abbott Northwestern Heart Institute in Minneapolis, MN for another attempt at the ablation primarily because of the seriousness of a-fib and WPW co-existing. Turns out I was mis-diagnosed as even having WPW because someone in 1977 saw a "slured" PR wave on an EKG and I have been taking meds to attempt to control the WPW and PVC's (Tambocor and Enalapril) both are pretty serious drugs.
My advice is to get a second opinion early on......get it from a credible heart center. I live in Grand Forks, ND and drove over 300 miles to Minneapolis to be seen at Abbott Northwestern and am so thankful I did. Now we can address the a-fib and PVC's in an informed manner. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Get a second opinion from a quality facility......good luck to you.
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