What is Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome?

Updated: Jan 08, 2017
  • Author: Christopher R Ellis, MD, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Mikhael F El-Chami, MD  more...
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Answer

In 1930, Wolff, Parkinson, and White described a series of young patients who experienced paroxysms of tachycardia and had characteristic abnormalities on electrocardiography (ECG). [1] Currently, Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is defined as a congenital condition involving abnormal conductive cardiac tissue between the atria and the ventricles that provides a pathway for a reentrant tachycardia circuit, in association with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). See the image below for a typical "preexcited" ECG.

Classic Wolff-Parkinson-White electrocardiogram wi Classic Wolff-Parkinson-White electrocardiogram with short PR, QRS >120 ms, and delta wave.

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