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Definition of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) is a method of biventricular pacing in which an implanted device regulates and coordinates the contractions of both ventricles, typically to treat severe heart failure.
Conventional pacing therapy stimulates only the right ventricle, which in an otherwise healthy heart results in contraction of both ventricles as the electrical impulse spreads simultaneously across them.
In severe heart failure, however, both ventricles are extensively damaged and do not function in synchronization. Conventional pacing therapy ends up being counterproductive by further extending the dysfunction between the two ventricles.
A biventricular pacemaker has two leads (wires that conduct electrical impulses), one of which the cardiologist inserts in each ventricle. The pacemaker’s discharge sends impulses simultaneously to each lead.
Risks of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)
The risks of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) are similar to those of conventional pacing therapy and include possible infection or blood clots from the inserted leads.
These risks are minimal, however, and CRT provides substantial benefit for people whose arrhythmias due to heart failure do not respond to other treatments.
See also IMPLANTABLE CARDIOVERTER DEFIBRILLATOR.
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