What is CRT and how can it help your heart?
Arrhythmias are irregular heart rhythms and can be caused by a variety of reasons, including age, heart damage, medications and genetics. In heart failure patients CRT, or biventricular pacing, is used to help improve the heart’s rhythm and the symptoms associated with the arrhythmia.
The procedure involves implanting a half-dollar sized pacemaker, usually just below the collarbone. Three wires (leads) connected to the device monitor the heart rate to detect heart rate irregularities and emit tiny pulses of electricity to correct them. In effect, it is “resynchronizing” the heart.
Benefits of CRT
Because CRT improves the heart’s efficiency and increases blood flow, patients have reported alleviations of some heart failure symptoms – such as shortness of breath. Clinical studies also suggest decreases in hospitalization and morbidity as well as improvements in quality of life.
Who is a Candidate for CRT?
In general, CRT is for heart failure patients with moderate to severe symptoms and whose left and right heart chambers do not beat in unison. However, CRT is not effective for everyone and is not for those with mild heart failure symptoms, diastolic heart failure or who do not have issues with the chambers not beating together. It is also not suitable for patients who have not fully explored correcting the condition through medication therapies. To date, studies show CRT to be equally effective for both men and women.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is an essential new treatment for indication associated with congestive heart failure (CHF) reason by weakening of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy). Cardiomyopathy is most commonly reason by irreversible damage from coronary artery disease (such as by a heart attack), but may also be the result of genetic factors, viral infections, or toxins (such as alcohol). The symptoms of CHF typically include shortness of breath, swelling of the feet and legs, fatigue, exercise intolerance, diminished appetite, and depression.