The observational study researchers presented Monday (3/13) at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology suggests that early placement of such cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices could prolong the lives of patients with congestive heart failure, said Dr. William Abraham, director of cardiovascular medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center and the lead author of the presentation.
"The improvement in outcome with early device placement is striking," Abraham said. "Unfortunately, many practitioners wait to consider use of these devices until after patients have been out of the hospital for some time, and most patients are unaware that they are available."
Abraham and colleagues analyzed data on 5,791 patients who were follow-up participants in Optimize-HF, a national initiative designed to standardize and improve treatment of patients hospitalized with congestive heart failure (CHF) that initially tracked outcomes of almost 49,000 patients. Abraham was a member of the Optimize-HF national steering committee.
Of those evaluated in the follow-up group, 132 patients received the CRT devices while they were hospitalized for such symptoms associated with heart failure as shortness of breath and excessive fluid retention. A comparison of the outcomes of those patients and the remaining 5,659 patients in the follow-up group showed significantly fewer rehospitalizations among the group with the implanted devices as well as a trend toward fewer deaths, said Abraham, also associate director of the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute at Ohio State.