beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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If you don't have symptoms, you don't need treatment. If you are having episodes of tachycardia as a result of WPW, you may be able to be treated with medications. If they don't work, your physician may recommend a procedure.

Medical therapy

Control Heart Rate

Medications may be used to control or prevent your heart from beating rapidly.

Catheter Ablation

Over 90 Percent Success Rate

Catheter ablation is the most common method for interrupting an abnormal pathway. It is a catheter-based procedure designed to destroy the area of the heart causing the tachycardia.

In this procedure, your doctor inserts long, wirelike tubes, called catheters, into veins in your groin and into your heart to the area where the pulmonary veins drain into your left atrium. This area is then burned or cauterized using radio waves. The cauterization destroys the tissue around the pulmonary veins so that electrical activity is prevented from entering your heart, thus preventing the start of the tachycardia.


The procedure itself takes from three to six hours and may require an overnight stay in the hospital for monitoring the results. You can usually return to work in two to three days after the procedure.

The procedure has a success rate of over 90 percent.


Open heart surgery may also provide a permanent cure for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. However, surgery is usually done only if the patient must have surgery for other reasons.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215