Treatment

Treatment depends on several factors, including the severity and frequency of your symptoms.

If you have the WPW pathway but don't have any symptoms, you probably won't need treatment. If treatment is needed, the goal is to slow a fast heart rate when it occurs and to prevent future episodes.

Treatment options include:

  • Vagal maneuvers. These simple physical movements — which include coughing, bearing down as if you are having a bowel movement and putting an ice pack on your face — affect a nerve that helps regulate your heartbeat (vagus nerve). Your doctor may recommend performing vagal maneuvers to help slow a rapid heartbeat when it occurs.
  • Medications. If vagal maneuvers don't stop the fast heartbeat, you may need an injection of an anti-arrhythmic medication. Your doctor also may recommend a medication that can slow the heart rate.
  • Cardioversion. Your doctor may use paddles or patches on your chest to electrically shock your heart and help restore a normal rhythm. Cardioversion is typically used when maneuvers and medications aren't effective.
  • Radiofrequency catheter ablation. Thin, flexible tubes (catheters) are threaded through blood vessels to your heart. Electrodes at the catheter tips are heated to destroy (ablate) the extra electrical pathway causing your condition. Radiofrequency ablation permanently corrects the heart-rhythm problems in most people with WPW syndrome.
Nov. 17, 2016
References
  1. Di Biase L, et al. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of the WPW syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Aug. 16, 2016.
  2. Bonow RO, et al., eds. Atrial fibrillation: Clinical features, mechanisms, and management. In: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 17, 2016.
  3. Di Biase L, et al. Treatment of symptomatic arrhythmias associated with the WPW syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Aug. 16, 2016.
  4. Dubin AM. Management of supraventriuclar tachycardia in children. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Aug. 16, 2016.
  5. Dubin AM. Supraventriuclar tachycardia in children: AV reentrant tachycardia (including WPW) and AV nodal reentrant tachycardia. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Aug. 16, 2016.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Supraventricular tachycardia. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  7. Ferri FF. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 15, 2013.
  8. Kliegman RM, et al. Disturbances of rate and rhythm of the heart. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 17, 2016.
  9. Bonow RO, et al., eds. Therapy for cardiac arrhythmias. In: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 17, 2016.
  10. Riggin EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 13, 2016.
  11. Bengali R, et al. Perioperative management of the WPW syndrome. Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia. 2014;28:1375.