Got other questions on WPW or SVT? See the Qaly guides on WPW and SVT:
- What WPW Looks Like on Your ECG
- What SVT Looks Like on Your ECG
- How to Read an ECG: Stanford Cardiologist Explains
- The Ultimate Cardiologist's Guide to the Smartwatch ECG
Thanks to the power of sensor technology, keeping an eye on your heart health has never been easier. With the electrocardiogram (ECG) feature of your smartwatch, you can monitor heart rhythms like Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome and sustained supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), often discussed together as "WPW vs SVT." Let’s dive in.
What’s Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome?
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a congenital heart disorder characterized by an extra electrical pathway between the upper and lower chambers of the heart, known as the atria and the ventricles. On an ECG, WPW is marked by a wide QRS complex by a shortened PR interval, and by a delta wave (a slurred upstroke at the start of the QRS complex), indicating early ventricular excitation. Here’s more on what Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome looks like on your watch ECG.
What’s Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)?
SVT is an abnormal fast heart rhythm starting in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart, leading to a heart rate often between 150 to 250 beats per minute.
On an ECG, SVT is identified by a rapid, regular rhythm with typically narrow QRS complexes. Often, P waves are difficult to see. “Non-sustained” SVT lasts less than 30 seconds, whereas “sustained” SVT lasts longer, sometimes even up to several hours. Here’s more on what SVT looks like on your watch ECG.
What’s the Difference Between WPW and SVT?
When comparing WPW syndrome vs SVT, there are some key similarities and differences to note. Both can cause episodes of rapid heart rate. However, there are also important differences. SVT refers to a range of conditions, and not all SVTs look the same on an ECG or have the same implications for health. On the other hand, WPW is a specific condition, and its hallmark features (short PR interval, wide QRS complex, and delta wave) can often be seen even when the heart rate is normal.
Furthermore, WPW can sometimes lead to a unique form of SVT known as "AV reentrant tachycardia," where the extra pathway in WPW is part of the circuit causing the tachycardia. This can be important for treatment, as certain medications typically used for SVT may be dangerous in the context of WPW.
In terms of health impact, both WPW and SVT can cause symptoms like palpitations, dizziness, or shortness of breath. However, while most SVTs are not life-threatening, WPW can potentially lead to more serious complications like sudden death in less than 0.5% of cases.
It's crucial to remember that while watch ECGs can provide useful heart rhythm data, they are not a substitute for medical advice. If you notice any abnormalities, it's always best to consult with a healthcare provider. Stay informed, stay proactive, and stay heart healthy!
Still Not Sure if It’s Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome or Supraventricular Tachycardia (Sustained) on Your ECG?
Differentiating between WPW vs SVT on your ECG can be tricky. If you’re still looking for help interpreting your ECG further, check out the Qaly app on App Store or Play Store. On Qaly, human experts will interpret your ECGs within minutes, day or night. Try out the Qaly app for free today!