About Nikita Joshi, MD

ALiEM Chief People Officer and Associate Editor
Clinical Instructor
Department of Emergency Medicine
Stanford University

ALiEM Sim Case Series: Pediatric WPW

Case Writer: Nikita Joshi, MD


Pediatrics, Syncope, Wolff Parkinson White (WPW), PALS

Educational Objectives


  • Discuss a broad differential diagnosis for pediatric syncope
  • Identify critical findings in pediatric EKG
  • Manage WPW tachycardia


  • Obtain a focused history in a pt with WPW focusing upon family history
  • Communicate as an interdisciplinary team

Case Synopsis

10 yo boy BIBEMS s/p syncope. Pt was playing on the football field, running down field when he suddenly collapsed. Bystanders quickly went to the boy and within 1 minute the pt had regained consciousness without any intervention. When EMS arrived on the scene, the boy was sitting with his mother telling everyone he wanted to go back and play.Upon arrival in the ED, pt is well appearing, however had a heart rate of 180 bpm and BP of 115/80.  EKG shows a wide complex tachycardia rhythm.  If team gives AV nodal blocking agents, the pt will devolve into a VF rhythm, and the pt will become nonresponsive. If team administers procainamide, pt will go into a rate controlled rhythm that reveals WPW and should then be placed on a procainamide drip. If team performs cardioversion, the pt will go into a rate controlled rhythm that reveals WPW. If the team does nothing, the pt will eventually go into a ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest.

Peds WPW Case Flow3

Download PDF of this flowchart

Peds WPW ABEM Milestone PC1
PDF this case-specific ABEM Milestone breakdown of PC1
PDF of more detailed scenario description

Critical Actions

  1. Analyze and interpret pediatric EKG for life threatening causes of syncope
  2. Initiate PALS for tachydysrhythmia
  3. Avoid AV nodal blocking agents in undifferentiated wide complex tachycardias
  4. Cardiovert pt early to avoid further decompensation
  5. Obtain family history of WPW with ablation


  • Residents (EM, pediatrics)
  • Nurses
  • EMS providers
  • Students (medical, nursing, EMS)


ED resuscitation bay


10 yo boy


  • Advanced airway equipment
  • Airway adjuncts
  • Broselow tape
  • Cardiac monitor
  • Cardioverter / defibrillator
  • IV fluid
  • Pediatric cardiac arrest cart
  • Syringes


  • Sports clothing for manikin


  • EMS provider – Gives history of well appearing pt on the football field. They did not obtain vitals because pt was so well appearing upon their arrival.
  • Mother – Unconcerned of syncopal episode, not good historian, thinks her son does not require medical care
  • Nurse – Completes and executes all orders provided
  • PICU attending (voice) – Discusses case with team over phone
  • Pediatric cardiology attending (voice) – Discusses case with team over phone

Supporting Files / Media

  • CXR – normal
  • EKG 1 – wide complex tachycardia, irregularly irregular
  • EKG 2 – VF
  • Echocardiography – normal, no effusion, good ejection fraction


AV = atrioventricular
BIBEMS = brought in by EMS
BP = blood pressure
CXR = chest x-ray
HR = heart rate
IV = intravenous
LOC = loss of consciousness
neg = negative
RR = respiratory rate
pt = patient
s/p = status post
T = temperature
WPW = Wolff Parkinson White
US = ultrasound
VF = ventricular fibrillation
yo = year old


  1. Boren SD. Commotio cordis. N Engl J Med. 2010. 362(23):2229-30. PMID: 20568311
  2. Fischer JWJ. Cho CS. Pediatric Syncope: Cases from the Emergency Department. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. 2010. 28;3. PMID 20709241
  3. Life in the Fast Lane Blog Post:  http://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/pre-excitation-syndromes/
  4. Mottram AR. Svenson JE. Rhythm Disturbances. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. 2011. 29;4. PMID 22040704

By |2019-02-19T18:02:41-08:00May 17, 2013|Pediatrics, Simulation|

Deception and Simulation

Have you ever created a simulation case with hidden objectives that the learners were not aware of? Would you ever purposefully try to trick or deceive learners in a simulation case?

Simulation can be used to reinforce clinical and procedural knowledge. It can teach important teamwork skills. It can also be used to learn about ourselves in morally and ethically challenging situations.

By |2016-11-11T18:38:34-08:00May 10, 2013|Medical Education, Simulation|

Death and Simulation

Should the manikin ever die in a simulation scenario?

Effective simulations require suspension of disbelief and willingness by learners to play along with the game created by the facilitators. Without this buy-in, learners could argue against discrepancies, simply on the basis that the scenario is not real. Learners give their trust that the educators will also play the same game, and that the rules will not change.


By |2016-11-11T19:59:21-08:00May 3, 2013|Medical Education, Simulation|

Poll: Disability Insurance – Yes or No?

I am set to graduate residency this June 2013 and among all the other things on my to-do list such as credentialing paperwork for my future employer is to explore disability insurance. Because I know very little about insurance, I decided to do some research.
  • What is disability insurance?
  • Why should I get it?
  • Do I need it as a physician?
  • Do I need it as an emergency physician?

Take a poll and see the crowd-sourced results…


By |2016-11-11T19:47:24-08:00Apr 19, 2013|Medical Education|

Sim Case Series: Incorporating ABEM Milestones

In this week’s simulation case, you will notice the addition of a table which is a description of ABEM Milestone #9 – General approach to Procedures (PC9). I created this table after attending a workshop from Dr. Danielle Hart (Assistant Residency Director and Director of Simulation at Hennepin County Medical Center). During the 2013 CORD assembly in Denver, Dr. Hart held a session in which she described a novel method by which to incorporate the ABEM milestones into simulation cases. This would accomplish two things:

  1. Provide an evaluation tool for the learners
  2. Easily incorporate milestones to evaluate residents


By |2016-11-17T12:34:30-08:00Apr 17, 2013|Medical Education, Simulation|

Are IVs scut work?

Is there educational value to teaching and learning how to place peripheral IVs? Not the exciting central lines, IOs, or ultrasound guided IVs. I am talking about straight forward and routine peripheral IVs. 

Or is this scut work? Can there be any educational value to scut work?


By |2016-10-26T17:04:59-07:00Apr 5, 2013|Medical Education|
Go to Top