Benefits of CRT
CRT improves symptoms of heart failure in about 50% of patients who have been treated maximally with medications but still have severe or moderately severe heart failure symptoms. CRT improves survival, quality of life, heart function, the ability to exercise, and helps decrease hospitalizations in select patients with severe or moderately severe heart failure.
CRT and ICD Therapy
Some patients with heart failure may benefit from a combination of CRT and an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD). These devices combine biventricular pacing with anti-tachycardia pacing and internal defibrillators to deliver treatment as needed.
Of the patients who receive a biventricular device at Cleveland Clinic, about 90 percent receive a device that also provides defibrillator therapy. However, only about 40 percent of the patients who receive defibrillators are also candidates for a device that includes biventricular stimulation (CRT/ICD combination device).
The CRT/ICD combination devices:
- Resynchronize the heartbeat
- Slow down an abnormal fast heart rhythm
- Prevent abnormally slow heart rhythms
- Record a history of the patient’s heart rate and rhythm
Some CRT and ICD combination therapies have an internal monitoring device inside so your doctor or nurse can track your heart rhythm and heart function, such as the pressure in areas of your heart.
You may be asked to use a telephone to transmit data electronically from your device to a computer server so your doctor or nurse can monitor your condition.
Is the Device Implant Procedure Safe?
A device implant is generally a very safe procedure. However, as with any invasive procedure, there are risks. Special precautions are taken to decrease your risks. Please discuss your specific concerns about the risks and benefits of the procedure with your doctor.
Will CRT Improve My Ejection Fraction?
Yes, CRT can help improve your ejection fraction. Ejection fraction (EF) is the measurement of how much blood is being pumped out of the left ventricle of the heart. A normal EF ranges from 50% to 70%. People with heart failure who have a poor ejection fraction (EF less than 35%) are at risk for fast, irregular and sometimes life-threatening heart rhythms. The CRT/ICD combination device can help protect you against these dangerous, fast heart rhythms.
Success of CRT
Cleveland Clinic experience has shown that CRT improves patients’ ejection fraction by 5% to 10%. In some cases, patients with a CRT device develop normal ventricular function. Based on our experience, it is not rare for a patient to increase his or her ejection fraction over 40%.