The heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. The left ventricle is the main chamber of the heart that pumps blood to the rest of the body. In people with heart failure, the left ventricle may not contract as well as it should. This can cause blood to back up into the lungs and other parts of the body. It can also make it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is a type of treatment that uses electrical stimulation to help the heart beat more effectively. CRT is often used in people who have a type of heart failure called left ventricular dysfunction, which occurs when the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart) doesn’t pump blood as well as it should.
CRT works by sending electrical impulses to the heart muscle through special leads (wires) that are placed under the skin. These electrical impulses help the left and right sides of the heart to contract at the same time, which makes the heart’s pumping action more efficient. CRT can also help improve blood flow to tissues and organs.
In addition to CRT, other treatments for heart failure include medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery. CRT is often used in combination with these other treatments.
If you have heart failure and your doctor thinks CRT may be right for you, they will likely perform a test called an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check the electrical activity of your heart. They may also order other tests, such as an echocardiogram (echo), which uses sound waves to create a picture of your heart.
Once your doctor has decided that CRT is right for you, they will place leads in your chest using a minimally invasive procedure. The leads are then connected to a device called a pulse generator, which is usually implanted under the skin on your chest. The pulse generator sends electrical impulses to the leads, which in turn stimulate the heart muscle and help the left and right sides of the left ventricle to contract at the same time.
CRT has been shown to improve symptoms of heart failure, quality of life, and survival in people with heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction. In addition, CRT can help reduce hospitalizations for heart failure. However, as with any medical procedure, there are some risks associated with CRT. These include small risks of infection and bleeding at the site where the pulse generator is placed. In general, CRT is a safe and effective treatment for patients with congestive heart failure.
CRT is an established treatment to help patients with heart failure. If you have heart failure and are considering CRT or have been recommended CRT, contact us today to see if CRT is the right treatment for you! Our specially trained physicians have extensive experience with CRT implants. We are happy to help!