CRT Therapy and ICD Therapy
Your cardiologist may recommend treatment that combines cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) and an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) if you have suffered from heart failure. This treatment method is suitable for patients who experience poor ejection fraction (lower than 35 per cent) – the amount of blood that is pumped out of the left ventricle – and those who are at risk of irregular and severe heart rhythm, which can lead to further issues. CRT and ICD therapy may also be recommended for the following patients:
- Those with symptoms of severe heart failure
- Those who are taking medication to treat heart failure
- Those with a history of cardiac arrest
- Those at risk of cardiac arrest
- Those with a weak, enlarged heart
- Those with delayed electrical activation of the heart
The cardiac device works by combining biventricular pacing and anti-tachycardia pacing with internal defibrillators. In this way, treatment can be delivered as necessary. A combination of CRT and ICD therapy will do the following:
- Resynchronise the heartbeat
- Slow down and prevent abnormal heart rhythm
- Record heart rate and rhythm
Dr Thomas will discuss the risks and benefits of implanting a cardiac defibrillator. Prior to the procedure, the patient will:
- Lie down flat on an x-ray table
- An intravenous drip is inserted into the hand/arm, where antibiotics, pain medicine and fluids are fed through this line.
- Receive an incision under the skin where the generator is placed.
- CRT wires are guided through the veins into the heart muscle
- X-rays are taken to ensure the leads are placed correctly
Of course, regular check-ups happening every six months are vital when assessing the function of the cardiac device. A pacemaker's battery lasts at least four years, after which the patient must undergo a second, minor procedure to replace the device. Dr Thomas can tell whether the battery is running low six months before it dies completely.