Diagnosis and cure of the wolff-parkinson-white syndrome or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardias during a single electrophysiologic test

Hugh Calkins, João Sousa, Rafel el-Atassi, Shimon Rosenheck, Michael de Buitleir, William H. Kou, Alan H. Kadish, Jonathan J. Langberg, Fred Morady

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613 Scopus citations


Background. We conducted this study to determine the feasibility of an abbreviated therapeutic approach to the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, in which the diagnosis is established and radiofrequency ablation carried out during a single electrophysiologic test. Methods. One hundred six consecutive patients were referred for the management of documented, symptomatic paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardias (66 patients) or the Wolff—Parkinson—White syndrome (40 patients). All agreed to undergo a diagnostic electrophysiologic test and catheter ablation with radiofrequency current. No patient had had such a test previously. Results. Among the 66 patients with paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardias, the mechanism was found to be atrioventricular nodal reentry in 46 (70 percent) (typical in 44 and atypical in 2), atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia involving a concealed accessory pathway in 16 (24 percent), atrial tachycardia in 2 (3 percent), and noninducible paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia in 2 (3 percent). A successful long-term outcome was achieved in 57 of 62 patients (92 percent) with paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia in whom ablation was attempted and in 37 of 40 patients (93 percent) with the Wolff—Parkinson—White syndrome. The only complications were one instance of occlusion of the left circumflex coronary artery, leading to acute myocardial infarction, and one instance of complete atrioventricular block. The mean (±SD) duration of the electrophysiologic procedures was 114±55 minutes. Conclusions. The diagnosis and cure of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia or the Wolff—Parkinson—White syndrome during a single electrophysiologic test are feasible and practical and have a favorable risk-benefit ratio. This abbreviated therapeutic approach may eliminate the need for serial electropharmacologic testing, long-term drug therapy, antitachycardia pacemakers, and surgical ablation. (N Engl J Med 1991; 324:1612–8.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1612-1618
Number of pages7
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 6 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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