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"Is Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome inherited?"
I'm a 32 year old mom who has just been diagnosed with Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome. What are the chances that my sons (8 and 11) have inherited this condition? If they have, what should we expect for the future?
Wolf Parkinson White syndrome is a disorder of conduction in the heart in which abnormal electrical circuits predispose to episodes of palpitations and, very rarely, death. Treatments for Wolf Parkinson White syndrome include medications to control palpitations, regular medical checkups and, sometimes, invasive procedures to eliminate the abnormal electrical circuits. Wolf Parkinson White syndrome is rare, but there is a genetic component, as family members of people with Wolf Parkinson White have double the risk of having the same abnormal electrical activity as the general population. One study has estimated that 3% of patients with Wolf Parkinson White will have another family member who is also affected. Additionally there are a few very rare forms of Wolf Parkinson White which are directly handed down from parents to children. One reasonable approach would be to discuss your recent diagnosis and concerns with your children's pediatrician. Most likely, their pediatrician will perform a good physical examination, ask some questions about the occurrence of palpitations and other symptoms, and obtain an electrocardiogram to evaluate the electrical activity of your children's hearts. If these findings are all normal, it is unlikely that additional workup will be needed other than routine, regular pediatric care.
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