Current treatment for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome: Results and surgical implications

Steven F. Bolling, Fred Morady, Hugh Calkins, Alan Kadish, Michael de Buitleir, Jonathan Langberg, Macdonald Dick, Flavian M. Lupinetti, Edward L. Bove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


From July 1986 to January 1991, 123 patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome underwent operation for ablation of aberrant conduction pathways. There were 85 male and 38 female patients ranging in age from 11 months to 68 years. Associated anomalies included Ebstein's anomaly, sudden death syndrome, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, abdominal aortic aneurysm, neurofibromatosis, other arrhythmias, or other complex congenital heart disease. Forty-one patients had multiple accessory pathways. Operative results showed a 7% initial failure rate, which dropped to 3% after reoperation. One patient had undergone previous operation for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome at another institution. Procedures performed concomitantly included mitral or tricuspid valve repair or replacement (6), right ventricular conduit replacement, subaortic resection, Fontan repair, corrected transposition repair, coronary artery bypass, and placement of an automatic internal cardioverter defibrillator. There was no operative mortality. Late follow-up is 27 ± 16 months, and complications included mitral regurgitation and myocardial infarction. By comparison, in the last 12 months 124 patients with the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome underwent catheter ablation using radiofrequency current. There were 9 patients with multiple pathways. One hundred twelve patients (90%) had all accessory atrioventricular connections ablated and have remained free of symptomatic tachycardia. There have been 12 failures (10%), of which 5 have had operation and 7 are being treated medically. Mean follow-up is 7 ± 5 months, and complications included circumflex coronary artery occlusion, excessive bleeding, valve perforation, and cerebral vascular accident. Both procedures offer excellent success with low morbidity. Although continued late follow-up is mandatory to assess the results of radiofrequency ablation, the early results suggest that operation for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome may become indicated for radiofrequency ablation failure, multiple pathways, or when additional procedures are required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
JournalThe Annals of thoracic surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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