CRT-D: Customized Heart Failure Therapy

The Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Elizabeth was the first facility in Greater Cincinnati to offer cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillator (CRT-D) devices that can be customized to each person’s needs. The devices are used to treat heart failure and atrioventricular (AV) block, an interruption of electrical impulses between the upper (atria) and lower (ventricles) chambers of your heart.

Similar to a pacemaker, a CRT-D includes a small battery-operated computer that’s implanted in your upper chest, and thin wires (leads) that connect the device your heart. The leads deliver electrical pulses to keep your ventricles beating and your blood circulating normally through your body. If your heartbeat becomes dangerously fast, the device can shock your heart back to a normal rhythm.

What Is Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy?

Unlike conventional CRT-D devices, which have leads with two electrodes, these newer devices have four electrodes that can deliver electrical pulses to multiple areas in your heart. This allows your doctor to program the device so it’s customized to your needs, which can offer you a better quality of life.

When your heart operates more efficiently, it can lessen some heart failure symptoms — including shortness of breath and swelling in your legs — and slow down the deterioration of your heart. It can mean less heart failure-related complications, with fewer trips to the hospital.

And, because the newer devices give doctors even better programming ability, newer generation CRT-D devices can be an option for more people. Talk to your doctor to find out if this therapy is right for you.

Cardiology - Dr. Zalkind

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