Heart Failure Treatment Lowers Risk of Death

Cardiac resynchronization therapy reduces rehospitalization and chance of dying

(RxWiki News) Patients with congestive heart failure can have a tough time finding an effective treatment. A recent study suggests cardiac re-synchronization therapy (CRT) may reduce re-hospitalization and the risk of dying.

CRT involves simultaneously pacing both the left and right ventricles to help improve the heart's pumping efficiency. Large scale trials have shown the method helps heart failure patients manage their symptoms.

"Ask your cardiologist if CRT is an appropriate treatment option."

Dr. Nigussie Bogale from Stavanger University Hospital in Norway, a first author of the study, said the research marks the largest study yet that found patients with a pacing device only (CRT-P) were more likely to die than those whose device had an additional defibrillator (CRT-D).

He said that most patients with an implanted CRT also have an implanted defibrillator, making sense for patients to be considered for CRT-D.

During the study researchers gathered data about 2,000 congestive heart failure patients at 141 medical centers in 13 European countries.

Study participants who were implanted with a CRT device included an array of heart failure patients, including the very elderly, those with atrial fibrillation (a common abnormal heart rhythm) and patients who had previously received a pacemaker or other medical device.

After a year of follow up, investigators found that symptoms had improved for patients after receiving a CRT device, with 81 percent of participants reporting an improvement in symptoms.

About a quarter of participants died or were re-hospitalized within the 12 month follow up period, a statistic mostly attributed to the severity of heart failure, the type of device implanted, or another existing condition such as atrial fibrillation or heart disease.

The article was recently published in the European Journal of Heart Failure.

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Review Date: 
December 19, 2011