Definition of Syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White: A condition caused by an abnormality in the electrical system of the heart which normally tells the heart muscle when to contract.

In Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome there is an extra electrical connection inside the heart that acts as a short circuit, causing the heart to beat too rapidly and sometimes in an irregular manner. The syndrome can be lifethreatening although this is unusual.

WPW can be treated by destroying the short circuit using a technique termed radiofrequency catheter ablation in which wires are placed in different places in the heart until the short circuit is found and can be destroyed with radiowaves.

Wolff-Parkinson-White is written with hyphens because the syndrome was not discovered by a Dr. Wolff Parkinson White but by three doctors: Louis Wolff, Sir John Parkinson, and Paul Dudley White.


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