Cardiac resynchronization therapy, also known as CRT or biventricular pacing, is a procedure for implanting a special type of pacemaker. A biventricular pacemaker helps most people who have this procedure get both of their heart ventricles contracting at the same time. This can help people with heart failure have a better quality of life.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT or biventricular pacing) is a procedure for implanting a permanent biventricular pacemaker. This makes your ventricles (lower chambers in your heart) contract together instead of at different times.
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Unlike other pacemakers that have one or two wires or leads, a CRT, or biventricular pacemaker, has three. One lead goes to each of your ventricles. The third goes to your right atrium, one of your heart’s upper chambers. (Your heart has two ventricles and two atria.)
These leads watch for abnormal heart rhythms and send an electrical signal to correct them and make your heart chambers work together.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy uses a biventricular pacemaker to get your ventricles working together.
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) gets a fast rhythm back to normal. It helps people who have ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.
Many people may need a biventricular pacemaker with an ICD to correct all of these issues.
People who have an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, may need cardiac resynchronization therapy or another type of pacemaker. Causes of arrhythmia or a weak heart include:
About 20% to 30% of people who have heart failure have left and right ventricles that don’t contract together. This makes it even harder for their hearts to pump blood.
CRT is the next treatment option after trying medication and lifestyle changes.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy is fairly common. More than 311,000 people received CRT between 2006 and 2012 in the United States.
Your healthcare provider will:
Your healthcare provider will:
After receiving CRT:
CRT can provide these benefits:
Possible complications of cardiac resynchronization therapy include:
You may need to stay overnight (or just a few hours) in the hospital after cardiac resynchronization therapy. You can go back to your normal activities in a few days. You shouldn’t drive or lift anything heavy for a week or so.
Your biventricular pacemaker should last for several years. It should improve your quality of life.
Researchers have found that CRT didn’t help one-third of the people who received it.
Contact your healthcare provider if you get a fever weeks or even months after getting CRT. It could mean you have an infection where your biventricular pacemaker is located.
You’ll have a follow-up appointment a month after your cardiac resynchronization therapy procedure, and then once or twice a year.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT or biventricular pacing) is the implantation of a permanent biventricular pacemaker. Talk with your healthcare provider about electronic or magnetic objects that may keep your pacemaker from working right. Although your healthcare provider will check your pacemaker electronically from their office, they’ll still need to see you regularly after cardiac resynchronization therapy. They need to be sure your device, battery and wires are in good shape. Be sure to follow all instructions your healthcare provider gives you about your device so you can gain the greatest benefit from it.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/01/2022.
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