Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome

People affected by Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome ( WPW syndrome for short ) suffer from a heart defect that is usually not life-threatening. An additional pathway for the electrical impulses that control heart function leads to heart palpitations. Tachycardia in young adults is a common sign that Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is present.

What is Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome?

In Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, the heart rate disturbance is caused by an additional pathway for electrical impulses. It is a congenital heart defect that usually only becomes apparent in those affected between the ages of 20 and 30. Significantly earlier occurrence in children or much later in advanced adulthood is also possible. For definitions of engorgement, please visit topbbacolleges.com.

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is characterized by an abrupt increase in heartbeats. Tachycardia occurs, which sometimes lasts only a few minutes, and in severe cases can last for several hours. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is usually not life-threatening.

Causes

The normal contraction process of the heart is disturbed by the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It is controlled by an excitation ladder system. Electrical impulses are generated in these heart muscle cells, which cause the heart to contract or relax. These impulses are transmitted exclusively via the AV node.

In Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome there is an addition to this normal conduction system. The impulses propagate more only via the AV node, but they find one or rarely more additional conductors. This causes impulses to circulate between the atria and ventricles. The heartbeat accelerates without any warning.

It can reach a rate that is dangerous to health, although this is not necessarily the case in Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It is more likely to lead to feelings of tightness, drowsiness or the feelings of fear often associated with racing heart. In Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, it stops as quickly as the increased heart attack occurs.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

With Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, there are not always complaints, and sometimes changes are only detected by an electrocardiogram. One of the most common symptoms is rapid heartbeat, which comes on suddenly. The heart can then beat up to 240 times per minute, but the pulse is very regular. The racing heart is perceived by some patients as an excessive pounding of the heart, which is called “palpitation” in medicine.

Others, on the other hand, feel a “palpitation”. In addition, many sufferers also suffer from shortness of breath, chest pain and dizziness. After the heart palpitations, many complain of tiredness and a pronounced urge to urinate. In many patients, the racing heart (tachycardia) also triggers anxiety, which is exacerbated by shortness of breath and dizziness.

Sometimes the heart is not able to pump enough blood to the organs due to the increased heart rate, so that some sufferers can also lose consciousness. WPW syndrome symptoms are rather rare in infancy. When a baby develops tachycardia, it breathes rapidly and is very pale. He may also refuse to drink and eat and be easily irritable. Since the heart structure in children is not yet mature, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome can be more dangerous than in adults.

Diagnosis & History

If tachycardia, which indicates Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, occurs, the doctor treating you will order an ECG. If there are deviations, the next step is a long-term ECG to monitor heart activity over a longer period of time.

In some cases, in Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a cardiac catheterization is also done to pinpoint the exact location of the extra conductor called Kent’s bundle. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome usually progresses without further impairments for the person concerned. The attacks of rapid heartbeat are uncomfortable but rarely life-threatening.

In severe cases, those affected tire more quickly than healthy people and tend to fainting or dizzy spells. In individual cases, however, it can coincide with other heart diseases and trigger ventricular fibrillation up to cardiac death. Children who already show symptoms of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome often suffer from loss of appetite, have difficulty concentrating and may experience developmental delays.

Complications

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a serious condition that needs to be treated by a doctor. Self-healing does not occur and those affected can die of the heart defect in the worst case. As a rule, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome leads to cardiac arrhythmias.

The patients cannot do any strenuous activities or sports and are therefore significantly restricted in their everyday life. Heart palpitations are also common and can lead to sweating or a panic attack. In many cases, those affected also suffer from shortness of breath and thus dizziness or vomiting.

Fear and confusion are also common. With severe shortness of breath, patients may also lose consciousness. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is treated with surgery. There are no particular complications.

However, those affected are dependent on taking medication even after the procedure. In emergencies, treatment must be carried out by an emergency doctor. The life expectancy of the patient is also significantly reduced and restricted by the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

When should you go to the doctor?

The visit to the doctor is mandatory at the first occurrence of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Anyone who experiences sudden heart palpitations for the first time under stress or at rest is unsettled. If the tachycardia is not due to panic, fear, stress, haste or other explainable impulses, a doctor’s visit should be arranged immediately. It is probably a special form of cardiac arrhythmia.

The WPW syndrome represents a hereditary atrioventricular reentry tachycardia. It requires treatment – especially if atrial fibrillation is present at the same time. Then Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is life-threatening because ventricular fibrillation can lead to cardiac arrest. The doctor uses an electrocardiogram to determine whether the sudden tachycardia has an organic cause or not.

In the case of the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, superfluous stimulus conductors to the heart are the cause of the tachycardia. Since the attacks of tachycardia occur more frequently in Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, the attending physician usually arranges a long-term ECG. This is particularly meaningful when it can record an attack of tachycardia. The problem is that the treatment of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is different than the treatment of other heart diseases. Certain heart medications such as digitalis or verapamil are not suitable for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Instead, the obliteration of the triggering but superfluous pathways to the heart by catheter ablation is usually successful. This catheter-based intervention on the left atrium is associated with only minor surgical risks. It usually provides permanent relief.

Treatment & Therapy

Wolff -Parkinson-White syndrome does not always require treatment. In many cases, it is only diagnosed by chance, since those affected are symptom-free. In other cases, patients learn what are called vagus maneuvers, which consist of movements, swallowing cold drinks, or other actions that stimulate the vagus nerve and bring the heartbeat back to normal.

In addition to these simple methods, there is the possibility of drug treatment for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Heart medications that are suitable for interrupting the tachycardia are available in tablet form or as injections. They are usually taken when symptoms appear and are not long-term medications used to treat Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

A defibrillator is used for a particularly serious attack of rapid heartbeat. The impulse circuit is interrupted by the administered electric shock and the heartbeat returns to normal. In addition, if the exact position of the Kent’s bundle is known, there is a chance to eliminate the anomaly of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome with a high success rate.

The affected muscle area in the heart is heated with electricity via a heart catheter to such an extent that the cells there die off in a targeted manner and tachycardia caused by the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome can no longer develop in the first place.

Prevention

Preventive measures are not possible in congenital Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. This applies to the actual occurrence of the disease as well as to the phases of heart palpitations that occur without warning. However, heart health should be checked regularly if you have Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Aftercare

In most cases, those affected with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome have only very few and limited direct follow-up measures available. For this reason, those affected by this disease should consult a doctor at an early stage in order to prevent possible other complications and symptoms. It cannot heal on its own.

Since Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a genetic disease, it cannot usually be completely cured. Therefore, if you wish to have children, a genetic test and counseling should always be carried out first in order to prevent the disease from recurring in the offspring. Most people affected by Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome are dependent on taking medication.

All doctor’s instructions should be followed. The correct dosage and regular intake must also be observed. In many cases, contact with other people affected by the disease can also be very useful in Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, as this can lead to an exchange of information, which can make everyday life easier.

You can do that yourself

Patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome suffer from a severe heart defect. This represents a life-threatening condition. For this reason, cooperation with the doctor treating you is extremely important. All situations of physical or emotional distress should be avoided or reduced to a minimum.

In the area of ​​self-help, care must be taken to ensure that there is no physical overexertion and that periods of rest are taken when the first symptoms appear. Obesity should be avoided, as this leads to a further severe impairment of heart activity. Therefore, the daily food intake must be checked and, if necessary, optimized. Likewise, sports activities are only to be carried out after consultation with the doctor treating you. Most sports cannot be performed by patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Therefore, recreational activities must be coordinated with health options.

Working with a psychotherapist helps to better deal with situations of emotional stress. Everyday developments and events should not lead to any cognitive problems. In the event of insomnia or circling thoughts, existing discrepancies should therefore be addressed openly. Existing disputes and interpersonal misunderstandings should be settled as soon as possible. The promotion of joie de vivre and the well-being of the further health development has proven to be helpful. The focus of one’s own life should be directed more towards activities and situations that lead to an improvement in the quality of life.

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome