Symptoms of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome in an infant include:
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid, visible pulsations of the chest
- Shortness of breath
- An infant with symptoms of Wolff-Parkinson-White can develop heart failure
In teenager or young adults, symptoms of Wolff-Parkson-White syndrome may include:
- A sudden rapid heartbeat (paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia) that often begins during exercise, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several hours
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia)
- In young, physically people, these episodes usually cause few symptoms
Later in life, if you have paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, you will have more symptoms such as fainting, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Atrial fibrillation may be a particular danger if a person has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. The extra electrical pathway can send impulses to the ventricles much faster than the normal pathway through the atrioventricular node. As a result, the ventricles contract at an extremely fast rate. This makes the heart very inefficient at pumping blood and can be life-threatening. Such a rapid heart rate can also build into ventricular fibrillation, which is fatal unless treated immediately. On rare occasions, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome can lead to a rapid, life-threatening heart rate during atrial fibrillation.
Causes and Risk Factors
Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome is a birth defect.