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Wolffe Parkinson White Syndrome and Heart Attack
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Wolffe Parkinson White Syndrome and Heart Attack


  My husband is 53, 160 lbs. and is in excellent physical condition. (We practice fairly good diet -- lots of chicken, very little meat, no fried or junk foods, but his cholesterol is high - about 230.)  Four years ago, however, just before going into surgery to remove a ruptured disc, the doctors detected Wolffe Parkisnon White Syndrome. They said it was not serious  and went ahead with his surgery. Several doctors have detected this in his annual physical and all said not to worry about it.  Now we are getting ready to go elk hunting and I am concerned about the high altitude and hard walking he will be doing.  He has been working out on a treadmill and stair-climber for the past two months to get his legs and heart in condition for this but I am wondering if WPW can cause a heart attack. (He has never complained about having rapid heartbeats or any other symptoms.)  We are leaving this week and I would really appreciate any type of information you can provide at this late moment.  
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Dear Tammy,
Wolff-Parkinson-White (named after the three doctors who first described it) is a hereditary condition.  It may not be diagnosed until adolescence but the underlying cause is present at birth.  There is no association between WPW and the risk of having an MI.  If your husband has ever experienced fast heart beats he may consider seeing an electrophysiologist about an ablation procedure.
Q: What is the normal condition?
A:In a normal heart the atrio-ventricular or A-V node is the only path for electrical conduction between the atria and the ventricles .
Q: What is the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome?
A: If an abnormal conduction pathway runs between the atria and the ventricles, the electrical signal may arrive at the ventricles too soon. This condition is called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (W.P.W.). It is recognized by characteristic changes on the electrocardiogram that indicate that an additional pathway or shortcut from the atria to the ventricles exists. Many patients with the syndrome do not have symptoms or episodes of tachycardia (rapid heart rhythm).
Q:  First of all, what is the cause of WPW? Is it something you 'get' when you over exercise?
Is it genetically rooted?
A: WPW is a congenital condition.  It is not induced by exercise or any other
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