Bundle of Kent

Other known aliases atrioventricular bypass tract

DefinitionAs discussed in the WPW eponym, the Bundle of Kent is an accessory conduction pathway between the atrium and ventricle on either the right or left side of the heart.

Clinical Significancethis pathway occurs in up to 0.3% of patients and the cause of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It bypasses the traditional conduction system and allows for pre-excitation tachydysrthymias.

HistoryNamed after Albert Frank Stanley Kent (1863-1958), an English physiologist who received his degree in 1886 from the Magdalen College of Oxford. He first described lateral atrioventricular connections in a monkey heart in 1893 and erroneously believed these were part of the normal specialized conduction system. These findings generated a lot of controversy at the time and were actually rejected by several notable anatomists and physiologists. In fact, in 1955, Lev and Learner dissected 33 neonatal hearts and found no evidence of “normal” lateral conduction systems.


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  • Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
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  • Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  • Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  • Kent AF. Researches on the Structure and Function of the Mammalian Heart. The Journal of physiology. 1893; 14(4-5):i2-254. [pubmed]
  • LEV M, LERNER R. The theory of Kent; a histologic study of the normal atrioventricular communications of the human heart. Circulation. 1955; 12(2):176-84. [pubmed]

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