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Prophylactic Catheter Ablation Found to Reduce Risk of Arrhythmia in Asymptomatic Children with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome 

September 16, 2004

By Ashley Starkweather, B.S. and Asher Kimchi M.D.

MILAN, ITALY Ventricular fibrillation can be the presenting arrhythmia in children with asymptomatic Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. However, deaths due to this arrhythmia are potentially preventable. 

A study by Carlo Pappone, M.D., at San Raffaele University in Milan, Italy, published in the September 16, 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine compared the occurrence of arrhythmic events in children with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome treated with prophylactic radiofrequency catheter ablation to those with no ablation treatment. 

A randomized study of forty-seven asymptomatic children between the ages of five and twelve with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, determined to be at high risk for arrhythmia, was performed to compare the incidence of arrhythmia in children treated with prophylactic ablation compared to those who were not treated. During following up, only five percent of the treatment group had arrhythmic events, while forty-four percent of the control group had such events. This reduction in arrhythmia risk is significant. 

This study points to the value of prophylactic radiofrequency catheter ablation therapy in asymptomatic, high-risk children with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome in order to prevent arrhythmic events and death due to ventricular fibrillation. 

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