Cardiac resynchronisation therapy for heart failure

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Heart failure (HF) is increasingly common and, despite advances in pharmacotherapeutic management, often progresses. Progression is marked by structural and electrical changes–remodelling. In approximately one-third of patients, ventricular dilatation is accompanied by intraventricular conduction delays, most commonly the left bundle branch block (LBBB). The presence of LBBB is associated with mechanical dyssynchrony of the heart. Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT), the use of special pacemakers with or without implantable cardioverter defibrillators, aims to resynchronise the failing heart, improving myocardial contraction without increased energetics. Several, large, randomised clinical trials have now established the benefit of CRT in a select group of HF patients, providing functional and, recently shown, mortality benefits. However, a substantial proportion of patients are considered non-responders to CRT, and studies are now underway to identify the patients most likely to respond to CRT.

Keywords: Cardiac resynchronisation therapy; dyssynchrony; echocardiography; heart failure; remodelling

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Cardiology, The Alfred Hospital

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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