Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome risks

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Submitted by Dr T on January 26, 2013 – 12:00pm

Question: 
Your question:Hello Dr. T, MY 20 year old san has several a fib incidents throughout his short life. They never lasted more than a couple of minutes then he would be ffine.A month ago he had an attack,this one lasted 3 hours.. Yesterday he endured 7 hours an oblation procedure.. the doctor said he did one oblation successfully then spent 4 more hours trying to do another but could not reach it therefore my son will need medication for the rest of his life. JAKE IS AN ALL STAR ATHLETE. My queestion is will he be able lead an active life living wpw? And is there any other course of action to be taken other than conventional drugs? Thank you, concerned dad 

Answer:
Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome and Atrial Fibrillation (AF) are two different diseases. Both WPW and AF may require ablation. If the procedure was only partially successful, it may need to be repeated.

Being an Athlete doesn’t protect your son from having a serious illness, but I agree with you to not accept a final verdict about the treatment of your son w/o consultation with another cardiologist (who is an EP specialist). The reason: Some patients with WPW are at high risk for Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD).

Risk factors to look for include previous episodes of unexplained syncope (fainting) or palpitations. In his case I’d look for somebody associated with a major (academic) medical center.
Hope this helps,
Dr T

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