Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is a treatment for some cases of heart failure. In heart failure, the heart does not pump blood with appropriate efficiency. In some patients, this inefficiency is due in part to a failure of the walls of one heart chamber (left ventricle) to contract all at the same time to pump blood, as it would normally. In CRT a device called a biventricular (BiV) pacemaker or pacer is surgically implanted in the chest near the heart. It produces electrical signals to make the walls of the left ventricle pump properly. The BiV pacer can improve symptoms of heart failure, keep an affected individual from needing to go to the hospital for the condition, and help people with heart failure live longer. This type of pacemaker includes a device with a battery and small computer that the physician programs to send electrical signals to the heart when appropriate. It is similar in appearance to other pacemakers that help treat cardiac arrhythmias, but has three wires (“leads”) instead of two. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor might use a “combined” device, which has a BiV pacemaker plus an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) that can sense and treat abnormal heartbeats that could cause sudden death.

UAB Cardiovascular Institute delivers optimal patient care for heart rhythm disorders. You will be cared for by regional and world leaders in the treatment of heart arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, ventricular tachycardia, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, atrioventricular re-entrant tachycardia, and other heart rhythm abnormalities.

Our physicians evaluate the newest treatments and technologies and author professional publications that advance the field of arrhythmia treatment. Their extensive experience and academic backgrounds ensure that they are familiar with all types of heart rhythm disorders. Our academic medical center performs more than 600 heart rhythm-related procedures each year, and our success in treating all types of complex arrhythmias is well-documented. Our electrophysiologists have access to the UAB Cardiovascular Institute, one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast. It features the most advanced technology available, including four procedural suites dedicated to electrophysiology (the electrical signals in the heart). At UAB Medicine you are part of a program that carries out pioneering work in atrial fibrillation and advanced pacemaker and cardioverter defibrillator design.

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