Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
WPW
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Questions in this forum are answered by pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This forum is for questions and support about pediatric heart problems, symptoms and topics such as heart murmurs, palpitations, fainting, chest pain, congenital heart defects (including management and intervention), fetal cardiology, adult congenital cardiology, arrhythmias and pre-participation athletic screening.

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WPW

My daughter was diagnosed with WPW a year ago. Her doctor said that she needed the ablation surgery and that she was in the one percentile that WPW could be fatal for. I have no insurance and have tried every organization out there that I can find to help with no avail. She is having increased episodes of tachycardia, migraines, no energy and the list goes on. Is there anything that I can do at home to help prevent/relieve the symptoms? Is there any foundations that I may not have come across that will help with the cost of the surgery?
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Dear Sharon,

This is sounding not very good at all.  For our other readers, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a condition in which there is an extra electrical pathway connecting the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) with the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles) that exists in addition to the normal electrical connection known as the A-V node.  This can allow for an electrical impulse to go down one pathway and come back up the other, cycling around quite rapidly and potentially causing sudden death if there is one of two atrial arrhythmias called atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.  As far as preventing symptoms, short of taking medications such as beta blockers (which are relatively inexpensive and which your doctor can prescribe), there is no good way to prevent the symptoms.  Relieving the symptoms can be achieved by what is called vagal maneuvers, which your doctor can show your daughter how to do, assuming she is old enough to understand how to do them.  For older children, it involves bearing down as if having a bowel movement (without messing one’s pants).  For younger children, it can be achieved by having them blow into a straw that’s pinched off at the other end.

As far as health insurance coverage, the only other thing that I can recommend at this time is to try to discuss this with your local Children’s Hospital patient financial services department, and see if they can assist you with obtaining SCHIP, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.  In this way, your daughter may have access to some coverage.  Also, check through the American Academy of Pediatrics, as they may have other links to resources.
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