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Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) uses pulses of electricity to help the ventricles (the lower two chambers of the heart) beat as they should. This therapy helps improve how efficiently the heart pumps blood through the body, easing symptoms of heart failure and improving quality of life.

How it works

CRT involves implanting a pacemaker attached to wires that are placed into specific areas of the heart. This can be done either permanently or temporarily. The wires send pulses of energy to help the ventricles beat properly. These pulses are usually painless and can't be felt.

A traditional pacemaker sends pulses of energy to one of the heart's ventricles. In CRT, pulses are sent to both of the heart's ventricles at the same time.

The procedure

The implantation of a CRT device requires minor surgery, during which you will be given medication to relax or fall asleep.

During the procedure, wires are threaded through blood vessels into your heart and placed in specific locations. Once the wires are placed, the small metal device is placed under the skin of your chest and the wires are connected to it.

You may need to stay in the hospital overnight to ensure the device is functioning properly. Most patients return to their normal routines a few days or weeks after surgery.

Is it right for you?

You may be a candidate for CRT if your heart failure affects the electrical activity of your heart and causes heart failure symptoms. Your physician will perform a thorough evaluation to assess whether CRT is right for you.

Most people who receive CRT have a good outcome. People who have CRT are less likely to die from heart failure and less likely to have depression.

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