Pacemaker for Heart Failure (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy)
resynchronization therapy (CRT) uses a special type of pacemaker called a biventricular pacemaker (say "by-ven-TRICK-yuh-ler") to treat heart failure. This pacemaker for heart failure is a device that sends electrical pulses to make the
ventricles pump at the same time. This type of pacemaker can improve your
symptoms of heart failure. It can help you feel better so you can be more
active. It also can help keep you out of the hospital and help you live
When you have
heart failure, the
lower chambers of your heart (the ventricles) aren't able to pump as much
blood as your body needs. Sometimes the heart has a problem with the electrical
system that controls the pumping. This means the ventricles don't pump at the
right time or the heart has an abnormal rhythm. A pacemaker for heart failure
can help the heart pump blood better.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump blood effectively to the lungs or the rest of the body.
This can be because the person has developed a weakened heart muscle or because the heart muscle has thickened, making it difficult to fill the heart and backing up blood into the lungs.
With heart failure, the weakened heart pumps less blood than usual, causing the kidneys and adrenal glands to produce chemicals that help the body to hold onto salt and water.
In addition, the blood...
A biventricular pacemaker is
implanted in the chest, and it connects to three thin wires, called leads. The
leads go into different chambers of your heart. If there is a problem with your
heartbeat, the pacemaker sends a painless signal through the leads to fix the
problem. The pacemaker also can speed up your heart if it is beating too
In some cases, a person who has heart failure may get a
pacemaker that is combined with a device that can shock the heart back to a
normal rhythm if it is beating dangerously fast. The device is called an
implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). It can
prevent sudden death from certain types of abnormal heartbeats
resynchronization therapy may be used for people with severe heart failure
(class III or class IV).1
For more information and help deciding whether to get a
Epstein AE, et al. (2008). ACC/AHA/HRS 2008 Guidelines
for Device-Based Therapy of Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities: A Report of the
American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on
Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Revise the ACC/AHA/NASPE 2002
Guideline Update for Implantation of Cardiac Pacemakers and Antiarrhythmia
Devices): Developed in Collaboration With the American Association for Thoracic
Surgery and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Circulation,
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
August 9, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 09, 2010
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