Diagnosis and cure of the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardias during a single electrophysiologic test

N Engl J Med. 1991 Jun 6;324(23):1612-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199106063242302.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Electrocoagulation / adverse effects
  • Electrocoagulation / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Tachycardia, Atrioventricular Nodal Reentry / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Atrioventricular Nodal Reentry / surgery
  • Tachycardia, Paroxysmal / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Paroxysmal / surgery*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / surgery*
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / surgery*