“ lthough the A Wolff-ParkinsonWhite syndrome is an uncommon condition to have, we were able to get the problem solved,” says William J. Kostis, PhD, MD ’07, a cardiac electrophysiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (right), with his patient, Shawn Fohs. retired from the track since having children, Fohs was a gokart racer from the age of 12 who amassed more than 100 first-place finishes over the next nine years. He also raced bicycle motocross (BMX) throughout the Northeast and ITB (Improved Touring B) cars at all major road tracks in the region, including Watkins Glen International, Lime Rock Park, and Pocono Raceway. To someone used to being in the driver’s seat, the prospect of having something occur that is beyond one’s control can be a bit disconcerting. “Prior to this happening, I’d had no other issues, no prior symptoms,” says Fohs. “It was a very unique situation that I was in. I’ve come to acknowledge that there wasn’t anything I could have done to prevent what happened. It’s something that could happen to anyone.” In fact, says Dr. Kostis, many people with a WPW pattern never experience any symptoms. In those who do, symptoms can include rapid heart palpitations, lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. Because WPW patterns are one of the well-known factors for elevated risk of cardiac arrest, anyone who is known to have such a pattern should still be seen by a cardiologist, even if asymptomatic, Dr. Kostis advises. It is a good idea for individuals who have an arrhythmia or an arrhythmia-associated EKG pattern to be evaluated, he adds. “Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out how worrisome it will be without going in to investigate,” says Dr. Kostis. In people with WPW syndrome, a typical approach would be to perform an electrophysiological study with catheter ablation, he says, since the procedure is relatively low risk, with good long-term results. Now that Fohs has undergone treatment, he is happy to be back in the driver’s seat once again, with his wife and daughters, thanks to the great care he received. M Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE 31