One study is designed to determine whether certain patients who require an implantable defibrillator for life-threatening arrhythmias may enjoy a better quality of life and improved activity level through a combined defibrillator / biventricular pacemaker device.
The other study seeks to enroll patients who are current candidates for biventricular pacemaker therapy (advanced congestive heart failure with delayed impulse conduction) to determine whether cardiac resynchronization therapy alone or in combination with an implantable defibrillator will provide improved patient survival over existing medical therapies.
To be eligible for either study, patients must have advanced congestive heart failure as well as cardiac conduction abnormalities. These conduction abnormalities correlate with worsening congestive heart failure and result in discoordinated contraction of the left and right heart chambers, effectively reducing the forward flow of blood through the heart.
Cardiologists and heart surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have offered cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) since the introduction of biventricular pacing devices several years ago. These devices, implanted using minimally invasive techniques, stimulate the left and right ventricles to activate in unison, effectively 'resynchronizing' the chambers to contract as they would in a normal heart. Based on already completed clinical trial data showing improvement in heart failure status and activity level, CRT has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients with advanced heart failure and delayed impulse conduction.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy may not, however, prevent irregular heartbeats known as ventricular arrhythmias
Contact: Sandra Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center