What is cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) implantation?

Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) is a treatment for heart failure that uses a specialised device to synchronise the contractions of the heart’s ventricles. This is achieved through the implantation of a small device that delivers electrical impulses to the heart muscle.

During a CRT implantation procedure, a small incision is made in the chest and the device is placed under the skin. Leads, which are thin wires, are inserted through veins and positioned inside the heart. The leads are then connected to the CRT device, which is programmed to deliver electrical impulses to the heart’s ventricles to help them contract in a more coordinated manner.

Who is it for?

CRT implantation may be recommended for patients with heart failure who have a weakened heart muscle and an abnormal heart rhythm. It is often used in patients who have not had an optimal response to heart failure medications and therapies. The decision to undergo CRT implantation will depend on the individual patient’s medical history, symptoms, and the results of diagnostic tests such as electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiogram.

What to expect on the day?

CRT implantation is performed in the hospital under local anaesthesia and mild sedation. You will be awake but drowsy during the procedure, but will not feel any pain.

During the procedure, the cardiologist will make a small incision in the chest and insert the CRT device under the skin. The leads will be guided through veins and positioned inside the heart, and then connected to the CRT device. The cardiologist will test the device to make sure it is working properly before closing the incision with sutures.

After the procedure, you will be monitored for several hours to ensure that there are no complications, such as bleeding. Patients may need to stay in the hospital for observation overnight, but most can go home the following day.

Overall, CRT implantation is a safe and effective treatment for heart failure that can improve symptoms and quality of life.