Cardiac resynchronization therapy: redefining the role of device therapy in heart failure

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That cardiac dyssynchrony can contribute to a decline in cardiac efficiency has been recognized in one form or another for at least 50 years. Although revascularization and β-blockers can improve cardiac synchrony, there was little interest in or awareness of this clinical entity until the advent of specific, highly effective therapy using atriobiventricular pacing, often described as cardiac resynchronization therapy. Over the last few years, significant advances in cardiac resynchronization therapy technology and the publication of large-scale clinical trials using cardiac resynchronization therapy devices in patients with heart failure have led to the widespread use of these devices. This review will briefly describe the complex nature of cardiac dyssynchrony, what is known about its epidemiology, the effects of cardiac resynchronization therapy, appropriate patient selection, practical aspects, such as implantation and monitoring, and some still unanswered questions.

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