Other known aliases – ventricular pre-excitation with arrhythmia, auriculoventricular accessory pathway syndrome
Definition – paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia caused by conduction through an abnormal accessory bypass tract between the atria and ventricles known as the Bundle of Kent. There are two types depending on the side of the heart it effects; Type A is between the right atrium and ventricle and Type B is between the left atrium and ventricle.
Clinical Significance – Patients with WPW can numerous cardiac dysfunction symptoms including tachydysrhythmias, palpitations, dyspnea, presyncope, syncope, and sudden cardiac arrest. It is characterized by the triad of abnormalities on EKG of widened QRS, shortened PR interval, and slurring of the initial part of the QRS (called a delta wave).
History – Named after Louis Wolff (1898-1972), Sir John Parkinson (1885-1976), and Paul Dudley White (1886-1973). Dr. Wolff was an American cardiologist who received his medical doctorate from Harvard Medical School in 1922. Dr. Parkinson was an English cardiologist who received his medical doctorate from University of Freiburg in 1910 and was also knighted by King George in 1948. Dr. White was an American cardiologist who received his medical doctorate from Harvard Medical School in 1911 and one of the founding presidents for the American Heart Association. He was a prominent advocate for preventive medicine receiving many national and international awards for his efforts to advance the importance of diet, exercise, and weight control in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. They collaborated to publish a series of 11 cases entitled “Bundle‐Branch Block with Short P‐R Interval in Healthy Young People Prone to Paroxysmal Tachycardia” in the American Heart Journal in 1930. It should be noted that Dr. Frank Norman Wilson and Dr. Alfred Wedd both described and published these findings in 1915 and 1921.
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- Wolff L, Parkinson J, White PD. Bundle‐Branch Block with Short P‐R Interval in Healthy Young People Prone to Paroxysmal Tachycardia. American Heart Journal. 1930;5(6):985-704 [article]