Heart and Blood Conditions

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome Symptoms and Diagnosis

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    • For appointments in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, Tri-Cities and Wenatchee, call 206-987-2515.
    • For appointments in Tacoma and Silverdale, call 253-272-1812.
    • For appointments in Alaska, call 907-339-1945.
    • How to schedule

    If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

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  • Locations +

    • Seattle Children's Main Campus: 206-987-2515
    • Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: 425-454-4644
    • Everett: 425-304-6080
    • South Clinic in Federal Way: 253-838-5878
    • Olympia: 360-459-5009
    • South Sound Cardiology Clinics: 253-272-1812
    • Tri-Cities (Richland): 509-946-0976
    • Wenatchee: 509-662-9266
    • Pediatric Cardiology of Alaska: 907-339-1945
    • Seattle Children's doctors provide many cardiac services at regional sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. See our complete list of Heart Center locations.

  • Refer a patient +

    • If you are a provider, fax a New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF) (DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • No pre-referral work-up is required for most conditions. If you have already done testing such as an EKG, Holter monitor or echocardiogram, please fax this information as well as relevant clinic notes and the NARF to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • Your patient will be seen as quickly as possible by the provider who is the best match for managing the current problem.
    • View our complete Heart Center Referral Information (PDF).

Symptoms of Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome can cause these problems with your child's heartbeat:

  • Their heart beats too quickly (tachycardia, pronounced tack-ih-CARD-ee-ah).
  • Their heartbeat is irregular - the speed and pattern change.
  • They have palpitations.

You and your child may or may not notice any of these problems with their heartbeat. Sometimes, families have no idea their child has WPW syndrome until it's noticed during a regular check-up or when the child has electrocardiogram (ECG) for some other reason.

Because the heartbeat affects blood flow, arrhythmias can sometimes cause these symptoms:

  • Feeling faint, weak, lightheaded or dizzy
  • Being short of breath
  • Having chest pain
  • Sweating
  • Fainting (syncope)

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome Diagnosis

To diagnose WPW syndrome, your doctor will examine your child, check their heartbeat and use a stethoscope to listen to their heart. The doctor will ask for details about any symptoms your child has, their health history and your family health history.

Some children with this condition have periods of arrhythmia, or a racing heart rate, only once in a while. This sometimes makes the condition hard to diagnose.

To learn about the electrical activity in your child’s heart, the doctor will use an electrocardiogram (ECG).

If an abnormal heartbeat does not happen during this test, your child may need to wear a portable ECG device for a while. A device called a Holter monitor can record their heart’s activity for 24 hours. Another device called an event record can be turned on by your child when they feel a problem with their heart rhythm.

To get more information about how your child’s heart looks and works, the doctor may do other tests, such as exercise testing and electrophysiology studies, to help identify the location of the extra electrical pathway in your child’s heart.

They may also need chest X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart, angiography and echocardiography.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.