January 31, 2011

Deaths Reduced With Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy

Cardiac resynchronization therapy shows major benefit in reducing mortality in people with heart failure when combined with optimal medical therapy or implantable cardioverter defibrillator, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only) http://www.cmaj.ca/embargo/cmaj101685.pdf.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy involves pacing from both the left and right ventricles of the heart at the same time to improve efficiency.

Congestive heart failure is a major health issue in Canada, with more 500,000 Canadians affected and 50,000 new cases each year. The death rate after a year in people with the condition ranges from 25% to 50%, depending on severity, and it accounts for more than 100,000 hospital admissions annually.

"The cumulative evidence is now conclusive that the addition of cardiac resynchronization therapy to optimal medical therapy or to implantable defibrillator significantly reduces mortality among patients with mildly symptomatic or advanced heart failure," writes Dr. George Wells, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, with coauthors.

They conclude "cardiac resynchronization therapy may now be extended to a much wider proportion of patients with heart failure, improving long-term outcomes in this growing population."


On the Net: