December 14, 2010
To understand Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and how it affects the body, we must first understand how the human heart works. The human heart is very complex and is essential to life. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is when there is a presence of an extra abnormal electrical pathway in the heart that leads to a fast heartbeat. It has a few symptoms, but they very distinctive for Wolff-Parkinson-White. The causes of this condition are not clearly known, but a small percentage of the cases are caused by a gene mutation. There are some serious complications with this disorder such as sudden death, heart failure, and frequent fainting spells. Some specific tests to diagnosis the syndrome include an electrocardiogram (EKG), a portable holter monitor, an event recorder, and an electrophysiological test. The treatment options available are medications, vagal maneuvers, or surgery. In addition, there are some things to be aware of that must be avoided to help lessen the symptoms. The prevalence and incidence of the syndrome are very low, but they do show trends such as men have a higher incidence than women. Lastly, my story sheds light on my personal experience with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and the complications that I still live with today.
How the Human Heart Works
The heart is the one of the most important muscles in the entire human body because a person cannot live without this muscle. The human heart is usually about the size of the person’s fist and is located in the thoracic cavity. The heart acts as a pump to help circulate the blood through the body. It has four chambers; two upper chambers known as the atria, and two lower chambers known as the ventricles. Blood is forced into the heart’s ventricles when the atria contract. The ventricles then contract simultaneously...