About the disease
Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome is the heart disease, during which the heart experiences the electrical disorder. It is more commonly known as the syndrome of WPW. Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome is a rare disease with only 0.2-0.3% of population being born with it. It means that out of 100 000 people there are at least 3 of them with the mysterious WPW. To understand better what the Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome actually means, the person needs to know that human heart has upper and lower chambers. To be more specific, there are 2 upper chambers and 2 lower ones. If there is an additional electrical pathway between these two chambers, the person experiences a very rapid heartbeat, which can also be called tachicardia. During the tachicardia, the heart has more than 200-250 beats per minute which is abnormal. Usually the person with heart rhythm has the average of 120 beats per minute. Although people are born with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, they do not experience its side effects until they are at least 11. Sometimes this syndrome goes by unnoticed until the person is 50. During his lifetime he can feel the rapid pulse or have early forms of anemia, but overall the disease does not bother him. the good news is that nobody dies from Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, so it`s not a terminal disease and it can be cured. Nevertheless, it can cause other heart diseases, so it`s important to undergo the usual Wolff parkinson white syndrome treatment.
As it was mentioned above, the rapid heartbeat is the most common wolff parkinson white syndrome symptom, although there are other side effects of wolff parkinson white syndrome. They include:
- The feeling of heaviness in the heart
- Anxiety attacks over nothing
- Dizziness in the head
Other WPW symptoms are as follows:
- Strange pain in the chest
- Tightness around the heart
- The breathing becomes more slow and rugged and the person feels like he is in the mountains
The acceleration of the heartbeat can occur in any minute given, but there are some cases when wolff parkinson white syndrome shows itself the most. The person may feel sudden loud heart beats, that can even be echoed in the ears after some minor exercise or after he had a cup of coffee. such seizures may also happen during the smoking or during walking. Sometimes the person wakes up during the night because of the heartbeat and very often he feels anxiety, because he can not simply understand why his heartbeat speeds up all the time. At that stage of wolff parkinson white syndrome most people usually go to the psychologist, thinking that the rapid heartbeat is the reaction of their organism on some stressful situations in their personal or professional life. The biggest mistake is that most people forget to notice that the heart is the only indicator of their anxiety and they neglect the visit to cardiologist. It may be very dangerous in the bigger run.
Another problem is that WPW has the same symptoms as another heart disease - the atrial fibrillation. Usually only the experienced cardiologist can differentiate these two diseases for sure. The atrial fibrillation has more serious consequences than wolff parkinson white syndrome, which most often may be absolutely harmless. The only real complication is that people with syndrome of Wolff–Parkinson–White can not become sportsmen or engage in any high-intensity sport activity.
The first thing the doctor does is thorough examination of the medical history to see if the patient has any tendency for the heart diseases. After that the patient undergoes the usual blood test. Sometimes there is a special hormone in the blood that accelerates the heartbeat and this is the reason for tachicardia. In that case the patient is prescribed with some hormonal medicines. If the reason is different, he undergoes the X-ray of the chest. This type of X-Ray is necessary to be done if the heart is somewhat enlargened. If it so, its volume causes the tension and pain in the chest. If the enlargened heart is still not the case, the patient receives the electrocardiogram diagnosis. An electrocardiogram can record all kinds of electrical signals that the heart receives and sends. If there is even a slight alteration in the usual exchange of electrical signals, this is a final indicator of Wolff–Parkinson`s syndrome.
If the person does not have any symptoms and has been diagnosed with WP accidentally during the usual check-up, he does not really need any wolff parkinson white syndrome treatment. If the accelerated heartbeat does not stop, the treatment of wolff parkinson white syndrome includes the following options:
- Heart injections. Injections in the heart are also called anti-arrhythmic medication.
- Closed catheter ablation, when the catheter is practically threaded through the tissues to the heart, During the catheter ablation the person`s extra electrical pathways that were the main reason for the WPW are heated and therefore destroyed. This is the most effective treatment for WPW syndrome with almost 90% of patients recovering after the procedure. There is also option of the open invasive catheter ablation, which is performed during open heart surgery. It also shows good results.
- Cardioversion. Although cardioversion may seem as an extreme measure, it brings very positive results. During the cardioversion the doctor shocks the patient`s heart with special electrodes and makes the heart rhythm normal again. Cardioversion may be used if the drugs that normalize the heart rhythm do not work anymore. It happens because the heart gets used to them and stops to respond as it used before. Moreover, the drugs may wear down the heart a bit, so it`s more advisable to undergo the cardioversion to have the normal heartbeat for long years after the procedure.
- Vagal manoeuvres is a type of physical therapy when the person closes his nose and exhales with his mouth. After that he tries not to breathe as long as possible and then makes a long inhale. usually patients with Wolff-Parkinson are advised to undertake lessons of yofa and pilates to normalize their heartbeat and to bring the harmony into their body. Some also go to the seaside because it is believed that the sea air improves the respiratory system of the person, thus preventing any strokes and unwanted dizziness. In fact swimming, which is considered to be a not high-intensity sport, may be a good solution for people who have WPW, but still want to work out regularly without heart complication.
- Electroconvulsive therapy is a procedure, during which electric currents are being passed through the brain to trigger a seizure to change the electrical activity of the heart.