May also be called: Anomalous Atrioventricular Excitation; Preexcitation Syndrome Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is a heart condition where someone has episodes of rapid heart rate due to a genetic defect in the heart. More to Know People with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome have an extra electrical pathway in the heart that can cause the heart to beat faster than it normally does. This is a condition known as supraventricular tachycardia (soo-prah-ven-TRIK-yuh-ler tak-ih-KAR-dee-ah). Most of the time, the heart beats about 60-100 times per minute. During tachycardia, the heart beats about 150-250 times per minute. With WPW syndrome, the frequency and severity of episodes varies from person to person. Some people have very few episodes. Others have one or two each week. During an episode, a person can have an irregular heartbeat (also known as palpitations), chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and fainting. In rare cases, a WPW episode can cause cardiac arrest, a condition where the heart stops pumping. WPW is diagnosed by tests that monitor the heart's electrical activity, and it's sometimes discovered during testing for another condition. Treatment for WPW usually involves medicine to coordinate the heart's electrical signals, or radiofrequency ablation, a procedure where a catheter is used to destroy the extra electrical pathway in the heart. Keep in Mind Some people with WPW never need treatment and have few or no symptoms. Many other cases can be treated with medicine. When radiofrequency ablation or surgery is needed, the results are usually successful, with patients no longer needing to take medicine. All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts. Back to Articles Related Articles A to Z: Palpitations Learn about arrhythmias and conditions that affect the heart and heartbeat. Read More A to Z: Ventricular Tachycardia Learn about ventricular tachycardia, a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia in which the heart beats too rapidly. Read More A to Z: Atrial Flutter Atrial flutter is an abnormal heart rhythm that causes the heart to beat too fast. Read More A to Z: Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT) Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is a type of arrhythmia in which the heart beats very rapidly. Read More A to Z: Tachycardia Learn more about types of arrhythmias and problems of the heart. Read More Arrhythmia (Abnormal Heartbeat) An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat usually caused by an electrical "short circuit" in the heart. Many are minor and not a health threat, but some can indicate a more serious problem. Read More Atrial Septal Defect Atrial septal defect, or ASD, is a heart defect that some people are born with. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully with few or no complications. Read More Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Atrial septal defect (ASD) — also known as a "hole in the heart" — is a type of congenital heart defect. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully. Read More Heart and Circulatory System The heart and circulatory system are our body's lifeline, delivering blood to the body's tissues. Brush up on your ticker with this body basics article. Read More Congenital Heart Defects Heart defects happen when there's a problem with a baby's heart development during pregnancy. Most heart defects can be treated during infancy. Read More Heart and Circulatory System The heart and circulatory system (also called the cardiovascular system) make up the network that delivers blood to the body's tissues. Read More The Heart Your heart beats and sends oxygen throughout your entire body. Find out how it works and how heart problems can be fixed. Read More Your Heart & Circulatory System Your heart is a hard-working muscle. Find out more in this article for kids. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.