Ventricular fibrillation in the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

N Engl J Med. 1979 Nov 15;301(20):1080-5. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197911153012003.


To examine the risk of ventricular fibrillation in patients with the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, we compared patients who had this syndrome and a history of ventricular fibrillation related to preexcitation with patients who had the syndrome without this history. Ventricular fibrillation occurred during atrial fibrillation, with rapid conduction over the accessory pathway, and these patients had a higher prevalence of both reciprocating tachycardia and atrial fibrillation (14 of 25 vs. 18 of 73, P = 0.004) and multiple accessory pathways (five of 25 vs. four of 73, P = 0.012). The shortest preexcitation R-R interval during atrial fibrillation was less in the group with ventricular fibrillation (mean shortest R-R, 180 vs. 240 milliseconds, P less than 0.0001) as was the average R-R interval (mean average R-R, 269 vs 340 milliseconds, P less than 0.0001). Patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome who are most susceptible to ventricular fibrillation have a history of atrial fibrillation and reciprocating tachycardia, demonstrate rapid conduction over an accessory pathway during atrial fibrillation and have multiple accessory pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications
  • Child
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Tachycardia / complications
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / etiology*
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / complications*
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / physiopathology