Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy and Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators in the Treatment of Heart Failure: A Review Article

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PurposeTo review the use of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)and automatic implantable cardiac defibrillators (AICDs)in heart failure (HF)patients.Data SourcesSelected scientific literature.ConclusionsNew developments in device therapy for HF patients are helping to decrease morbidity and mortality in this challenging patient population. CRT improves left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction, quality of life, 6-min walk distances, and New York Heart Association scores in select patients. AICDs can prevent sudden cardiac death in those who have LV dysfunction and are at risk for ventricular arrhythmias. Cardiac devices are now becoming a standard of care for those with HF who meet certain criteria.Implications for PracticeDespite advances in medical therapy for treating LV dysfunction, newly diagnosed patients face a 50% mortality rate in 5 years. The natural history of HF leads to continual deterioration of function unless adverse cardiac remodeling is reversed. Until recently, the only means for improving symptoms and cardiac function has been through the optimization of standard medicines that are indicated for LV dysfunction, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and beta-blockers. However, not all patients benefit from medical management alone. Cardiac devices may now be considered when significant symptoms persist after standard medicines are optimized. When practitioners use a multiple-modality approach, careful patient selection based on the inclusion criteria used in the trials outlined in this article will likely lead to improved management of those with LV dysfunction.

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