Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW)
WPW or Wolff-Parkinson-White is a syndrome that causes the heart to intermittently beat very fast. The condition is caused by an extra pathway that connects the top part of the heart, or atria, with the bottom portion, the ventricle.
Patients typically feel palpitations or heart racing that can persist for minutes to hours. This can cause chest discomfort, lightheadedness, and even passing out spells.
There can be some clues of the disease on a regular EKG. However longer electrical monitoring using a Holter or Event monitor is typically needed. In some instances an electrical conduction study is needed.
The treatment depends on how severe the symptoms are. Sometimes the fast heart beats can be terminated with specific maneuvers like coughing, bearing down, or rubbing the carotid artery. Typically, medications are needed. Radiofrequency ablations can be done to find the pathway and eliminate it.
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