Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy

What is Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy?

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) involves a procedure to insert a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) into the chest in order to maintain the heart’s rhythm. This ensures that the heart’s chambers are contracting efficiently to pump blood to other areas of the body. Cardiac resynchronization therapy can help to manage a variety of heart arrhythmia conditions, preventing complications such as heart failure.

Why is Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy done?

Cardiac resynchronization therapy is used to deliver a shock to the heart, restoring the normal electrical system to keep the heart beating regularly. When heart conditions prevent the ventricles from contracting at the same time, the heart muscle is unable to efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body, resulting in heart failure. Those at risk of heart failure can receive cardiac resynchronization therapy with a pacemaker or ICD in order to reduce symptoms and prevent heart failure complications, including sudden death.

When is Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Needed?

Cardiac resynchronization therapy may be suggested after an ECG and other testing indicates an irregular heartbeat. Heart failure occurs in various stages, so an ECG may be required to diagnose heart failure if symptoms have not occurred. Symptoms of progressed heart failure that may require CRT include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Congested lungs and a cough
  • Wheezing when breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Skin appearing blue
  • Fainting (syncope)

Dr. Beshai might suggest cardiac resynchronization therapy to manage these symptoms and prevent them from causing more serious complications.  

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How is Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Performed?

Cardiac resynchronization therapy will be performed with sedation to ensure you are relaxed and comfortable. During the procedure, lead wires called electrodes will be inserted through a vein, typically in the collarbones, and guided to the heart. One end of the electrode will be attached to the heart, while the other is attached to a pulse generator. This will be implanted under the skin near the collarbone. The device that is used to regulate the heart will depend on your symptoms and how at-risk you are for sudden cardiac death. A pacemaker may be used to ensure that each area of the heart remains in sync, while an ICD may be used to detect dangerous heart rhythms, shocking the heart in order to prevent failure or sudden cardiac death.

What are the Next Steps After Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy?

After cardiac resynchronization therapy, you will be moved to a recovery room to be monitored. You might feel some soreness in the chest where the device was inserted, but most people can return to their regular activities in just a few days. You will have a follow-up treatment with Dr. Beshai to ensure that the device is working properly. Both the pacemaker and ICD are life-long devices, with no need for replacement or removal. You will want to take extra precautions when it comes to metal detectors and wands. Always let someone know that you have the device first.

Scheduling Your Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Appointment

Dr. Beshai offers cardiac resynchronization therapy to manage the symptoms of dangerous arrhythmias and prevent heart failure complications. If you think you could benefit from CRT or want to learn more, contact our office and schedule your appointment at the Heart Rhythm Institute of Arizona.

The Heart Institute of Arizona has a wide array of services that come with our premium care. From in-office dianostics and treatable conditions, to hospital based procedures, we’ve got your heart covered.

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