Author(s): Pappone C, Vicedomini G, Manguso F, Saviano M, Baldi M
The management of Wolff-Parkinson-White is based on the distinction between asymptomatic and symptomatic presentations, but evidence is limited in the asymptomatic population.
The Wolff-Parkinson-White registry was an 8-year prospective study of either symptomatic or asymptomatic Wolff-Parkinson-White patients referred to our Arrhythmology Department for evaluation or ablation. Inclusion criteria were a baseline electrophysiological testing with or without radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFA). Primary end points were the percentage of patients who experienced ventricular fibrillation (VF) or potentially malignant arrhythmias and risk factors. Among 2169 enrolled patients, 1001 (550 asymptomatic) did not undergo RFA (no-RFA group) and 1168 (206 asymptomatic) underwent ablation (RFA group). There were no differences in clinical and electrophysiological characteristics between the 2 groups except for symptoms. In the no-RFA group, VF occurred in 1.5% of patients, virtually exclusively (13 of 15) in children (median age, 11 years), and was associated with a short accessory pathway antegrade refractory period (P<0.001) and atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia initiating atrial fibrillation (P<0.001) but not symptoms. In the RFA group, ablation was successful in 98.5%, and after RFA, no patients developed malignant arrhythmias or VF over the 8-year follow-up. Untreated patients were more likely to experience malignant arrhythmias and VF (log-rank P<0.001). Time-dependent receiver-operating characteristic curves for predicting VF identified an optimal anterograde effective refractory period of the accessory pathway cutoff of 240 milliseconds.
The prognosis of the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome essentially depends on intrinsic electrophysiological properties of AP rather than on symptoms. RFA performed during the same procedure after electrophysiological testing is of benefit in improving the long-term outcomes.