Wolff-Parkinson White (WPW) syndrome is a congenital disability that causes an additional electrical pathway to develop in the heart. As a result, the heart's electrical signals bypass the normal pathway, leading to abnormalities in rate and rhythm. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is rare, affecting around two out of 1,000 people worldwide. The condition is typically not life-threatening and can be managed with medication, surgical intervention, or regular monitoring.


1. Electrical Signals in the Heart

The heart contracts to pump blood throughout the body by way of an electrical pathway in the atria and ventricles. Electrical signals originate in a group of specialized muscle cells called the sinoatrial (SA) node in the wall of the right atrium, and this produces an atrial contraction. The electrical signal then travels to the ventricles via the atrioventricular (AV) node, resulting in ventricular contraction. The conduction of signals through this electrical pathway maintains normal heart rate and rhythm.

atria ventricles electrical pathway contraction PALMIHELP / Getty Images


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