Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is a heart rhythm problem that causes a very fast heart rate. It happens because your child has an extra electrical pathway in his or her heart. WPW is a congenital heart problem. This means your child was born with the problem.
Your child may have a fast heart rate or feel a fluttering in his or her chest (palpitations), feel light-headed or dizzy, or faint. When your child has these symptoms, it is called an episode. Your child may never have an episode, rarely have one, or have one once or twice a week.
Very rarely, a WPW episode can trigger a heart rhythm that can cause death.
Your child's doctor may prescribe medicines to help slow down your child's heartbeat. Your doctor may also suggest that your child try vagal manoeuvres when having an episode of WPW. These are things, like bearing down, that might help slow your child's heart rate. Bearing down means that you try to breathe out with your stomach muscles but you don't let air out of your nose or mouth. Your child's doctor can show you and your child how to do vagal manoeuvres. The doctor may suggest that your child lie down to do them.
In some cases, a procedure called catheter ablation can correct WPW.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: September 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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