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Europace. 2009 Mar;11(3):285-8. doi: 10.1093/europace/eun353. Epub 2009 Jan 7.

WPW syndrome: the 'Rosetta stone' of rhythmology. The history of the Rosetta stone.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Cardiology, University of Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25, D-53105 Bonn, Germany.


Prior to the 'discovery' of the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, interpreting the respective phenomena was akin to reading hieroglyphic characters; thus a clear pathophysiological understanding and practical clinical diagnosis were impossible. The epochal work by Wolff, Parkinson, and White, which resulted in the electrophysiologically correct interpretation of circus movements as the cause of tachycardic rhythm disorders, can therefore indeed be compared to the deciphering of hieroglyphic writing by Champollion in 1822 with the aid of the Rosetta stone. After intensive archaeological and graphological examinations by the Society of Antiquaries, the Rosetta stone finally made its way to the British Museum, where it can still be viewed and admired today.

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