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Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

  • Definition

    Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a heart condition in which there is an extra electrical pathway (circuit) in the heart. The condition can lead to episodes of rapid heart rate (tachycardia).

    Wolff-Parkinson-White is one of the most common causes of fast heart rate disorders in infants and children.


    Alternative Names

    Preexcitation syndrome; WPW


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Normally, electrical signals in the heart go through a pathway that helps the heart beat regularly. The wiring of the heart prevents extra beats from occurring and keeps the next beat from happening too soon.

    In people with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, there is an extra, or accessory, pathway that may cause a very rapid heart rate. This is called supraventricular tachycardia.