Preexcitation syndromes


The classic electrocardiogram in Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is characterized by a short PR interval and prolonged QRS duration in the presence of sinus rhythm with initial slurring. The clinical syndrome associated with above electrocardiogram finding and the history of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is referred to as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Various eponyms describing accessory or anomalous conduction pathways in addition to the normal pathway are collectively referred to as preexcitation syndromes. The latter form and associated eponyms are frequently used in literature despite controversy and disagreements over their actual anatomical existence and electrophysiological significance. This communication highlights inherent deficiencies in the knowledge that has existed since the use of such eponyms began. With the advent of curative ablation, initially surgical, and then catheter based, the knowledge gaps have been mostly filled with better delineation of the anatomic and electrophysiological properties of anomalous atrioventricular pathways. It seems reasonable, therefore, to revisit the clinical and electrophysiologic role of preexcitation syndromes in current practice.

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