What You Need to Know About Resynchronization
If your heart is not beating efficiently and you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be eligible for a cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) heart device. A cardiac resynchronization therapy device is designed to treat heart failure.
A CRT device sends small, undetectable electrical impulses to both lower chambers of the heart to help them beat together in a more synchronized pattern. This improves the heart’s ability to pump blood and oxygen to the body. The heart device itself is actually a tiny computer, plus a battery, contained in a small titanium metal case that is about the size of a pocket watch. It weighs about 3 ounces.
In addition to the heart device, insulated wires called leads are implanted for two purposes: to carry information signals from your heart to the heart device, and to carry electrical impulses to your heart. The third part of your implantable device system is a programmer, an external computer located in your doctor’s office or clinic that is used to program the heart device and retrieve information from your heart device that will assist your doctor in your heart failure treatment.
There are two types of implantable heart failure heart devices: a CRT pacemaker and a combination CRT pacemaker with defibrillation therapy. Both of these devices help to coordinate the heart’s pumping action and improve blood flow. They can also speed up a heart that is beating too slowly.
The CRT pacemaker with defibrillation therapy (CRT-D) also offers the ability to detect and treat dangerously fast heart rhythms, which some individuals with a damaged heart muscle may be at risk for developing. Your doctor will determine which CRT device is appropriate for your medical condition.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy, in combination with a complete program of therapy, has proven to improve the quality of life for many patients by reducing symptoms of heart failure, increasing exercise capacity and allowing individuals to resume many daily activities. It is not a replacement for drug therapy, and it is recommended that cardiac resynchronization therapy patients also continue taking medication as determined by their physician.
Risks associated with these implantable device systems include, but are not limited to, infection at the surgical site and/or sensitivity to the device material, failure to deliver therapy when it is needed, or receiving extra therapy when it is not needed.
After receiving a CRT device, you will have limitations with respect to magnetic and electromagnetic radiation, electric or gas-powered appliances, and tools with which you are allowed to be in contact.
Treatment with these implantable device systems is prescribed by your doctor. This treatment is not for everyone. Please talk to your doctor to see if it is right for you.
Your doctor should discuss all potential benefits and risks with you. Although many individuals benefit from the use of this treatment, results may vary.