SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome symptoms are the result of a fast heart rate. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Sensation of rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats (palpitations)
- Tiring easily during exercise
Symptoms most often appear for the first time in people in their teens or 20s. An episode of a very fast heartbeat can begin suddenly and last for a few seconds or several hours. Episodes often happen during exercise.
Symptoms in more-serious cases
If a person with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome also has a very rapid heart rate, more-serious symptoms can develop, including:
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden death
Symptoms in infants
Symptoms in infants with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Not alert or active
- Poor eating
- Fast heartbeats visible on the chest
A person may have an extra electrical pathway in the heart but experience no fast heartbeat and no symptoms. This condition, called Wolff-Parkinson-White pattern, is discovered only by chance when a person is undergoing a heart exam for other reasons. Wolff-Parkinson-White pattern is harmless in many people.
When to see a doctor
A number of conditions can cause irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia). It's important to get a prompt, accurate diagnosis and appropriate care. See your doctor if you or your child experiences any symptoms associated with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
Call 911 or your local emergency number if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than a few minutes:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
Also call 911 if you are with a person who faints.
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