Surgery for the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome - the Groote Schuur Hospital experience

  • R N. Scott Millar
  • D. A. Milne
  • U. O. Von Oppell
  • B. Reichart


Surgical division of accessory atrioventricular (AV) connections has been performetl on 9 patients with the WolffParkinson- White (WPW) syndrome at Groote Schuur Hospital. All patients had symptomatic paroxysmal tachycardia. The indication for surgery in 5 patients was poor control on antiarrhythmic drugs. Surgery was performed on a 15-year-old boy to prevent lifelong dependence on drugs, although his atrial fibrillation (ventricular rate> 300/min) was controllable with sotalol 1 280 mg daily. The remaining 3 patients required cilrdiac surgery for other indications and therefore their accessory pathways (APs) were divided concurrently. The AP was localised by pre-operative endocardial mapping and intra-operative epicardial mapping. There were 4 posteroseptal, 3 left free-wall and 2 right free-wall pathways. An endocardial approach was used to divide the pathways. All 5 free-wall APs were successfully divided without complications or recurrence. However, 1 patient with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and severe unstable angina·due to coronary artery disease died unexpectedly 10 days after 4-vessel coronary bypass grafting and division of a posteroseptal AP. Postoperative complications occurred in a further 2 patients with posteroseptal APs. One patient developed complete heart block and is now asymptomatic with a DDD pacemaker, while the other had recurrence of retrograde bypass conduction postoperatively, but is now successfully controlled on sotalol. Therefore 7 of the 8 survivors are free of recurrence of tachycardia on no anti-arrhythmic drugs after a mean follow-up of 14,3 months. New insights into the surgical technique, particularly for division of posteroseptal pathways, can be expected to improve the outlook.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135