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Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome


Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is a condition that causes tachycardia (fast heartbeat). A normal heartbeat is about 60 to 100 beats per minute. WPW causes 100 or more heartbeats per minute. WPW develops because an extra piece of heart muscle causes more electrical activity within your heart. WPW can develop for no known reason. Congenital heart disease or a family history of WPW can increase your risk.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have chest pain.
  • You have fast or abnormal heartbeats even after treatment.
  • You feel dizzy or faint.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines may be given to slow or regulate your heartbeat.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Vagal maneuvers:

Vagal maneuvers are methods that can slow your heartbeat during a WPW episode. Your healthcare provider may recommend you cough, gag, hold your breath, or put ice on your face.

Do not smoke:

Smoking narrows blood vessels in your heart. Narrow blood vessels make your heart work harder. Smoking can also damage your heart. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.

Carry medical alert identification:

Wear jewelry or carry a card that says you have WPW. Ask your healthcare provider where to get these items.

Exercise as directed:

Exercise can cause episodes of irregular heartbeats. Ask your healthcare provider how much exercise you need each day and which exercises are safe for you. Ask if you can play sports.

Limit caffeine:

Caffeine can make your heartbeat faster.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.