Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)
What You Need to Know:
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is a procedure used to treat problems with how your heart beats. CRT is also called biventricular pacing. The two upper chambers of the heart are called atria. The two lower chambers are called ventricles. Your heartbeat is synchronized when all areas of your heart beat together properly. When the areas of your heart do not beat as they should, your heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to your body. You may have trouble breathing, tire easily and have swelling in your legs and feet.
Preparing For Your Procedure
Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you currently take. Include prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins and supplements. You will be instructed as to which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.
Tell your healthcare provider about any allergies you have. An anesthesiologist will talk to you about anesthesia to keep you asleep during the procedure. Tell him or her if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia.
Your healthcare provider may order blood tests before your procedure, and you may need tests to check your heart function. A vein x-ray may also be done to help your healthcare provider plan your procedure.
You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure.
The Day of Your Procedure
You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
Take only the medicines your healthcare provider told you to take.
Healthcare providers may put an IV into your vein. You may be given liquids or medicine through the IV.
A small incision will be made over a vein near your neck. An x-ray may be used to help guide your healthcare provider during the procedure. An electrode catheter holding three leads will be inserted through the incision. The catheter and leads are guided into your heart. The catheter records the activity of your heart to help your provider decide where to place the leads.
If any of the leads cannot be placed through your vein, they may be placed through your chest. Your provider will make three or four small cuts on your left side, between your ribs. The leads will be placed directly on your heart. After the leads are placed, a pacemaker will be secured under the skin on your chest. The pacemaker will help your heart beat correctly. Your incisions will be closed with stitches or medical glue.
After Your Procedure
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be taken to your hospital room.
Contact Your Healthcare Provider If:
- You have a fever
- You get a cold or the flu
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure
Biventricular pacemaker implant risks associated with pacemaker system implant include, but are not limited to, infection at the surgical site and/or sensitivity to the device material, failure to deliver therapy when it is needed or receiving extra therapy when it is not needed.
After receiving an implantable pacemaker system, you will have limitations with respect to magnetic and electromagnetic fields, electric or gas-powered appliances and tools with which you are allowed to be in contact.
By regulating the heart’s rhythm, a pacemaker can often eliminate the symptoms of bradycardia. This means individuals often have more energy and less shortness of breath. However, a pacemaker is not a cure. It will not prevent or stop heart disease, nor will it prevent heart attacks.
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