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Herz. 2001 Feb;26(1):84-8.

[Cardiac resynchronization therapy in terminal heart failure: current status and prospects].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung für Kardiologie, Zentrum für Innere Medizin, Universitätsklinikum Essen.



With regard to epidemiological aspects, heart failure has been shown an increasing incidence in constrast to coronary artery disease which counts decreasingly due to secondary and primary prevention. The present data show an incidence for heart failure of 2% per year. 4-5 million people are newly affected by the disease. The prognosis is limited after diagnosis is confirmed. According to the US Framingham study, the median life expectancy is 3.2 and 5.4 after diagnosis for male and female, respectively. For patients in an advanced stage of the disease the mortality rate is 27% within 3 years. AV SEQUENTIAL PACING: The introduction of AV sequential pacing by the Austrian group of Margarete Hochleitner in 1992 showed an improved left ventricular systolic function, an improved clinical benefit in terms of NYHA classification, an enhanced left ventricular ejection fraction, an improved systolic and diastolic blood pressure, a reduction of the heart-chest relationship as well as a reduction of the resting hart rate and the echocardiographic dimension parameters.


First experimental approach for biventricular stimulation, which means the simultaneous activation of the right and the left chamber, relied on the observation of a distorted ventricular activation due to the presence of a bundle branch block. The bundle branch block is a result of the dilatation of the myocardial fibers, death of myocardial cells which are replaced by fibrous tissue. Resynchronization of both ventricles was associated with an improved left ventricular function and improved diastolic relaxation. Clinical studies of patients with heart failure, severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction, and left bundle branch block have shown that systolic function can be improved by electrically stimulating the site of late activation. The magnitude of the improvement seems to be associated with the duration of the intrinsic surface QRS complex and whether the ventricle ipsilateral with the conduction defect is stimulated. The effect of ventricular resynchronization therapy was optimized by timing of atrioventricular activation associated with a decrease in both systolic and diastolic mitral regurgitation.


The prognosis of patients with end-stage heart failure is limited by two determinants: myocardial pump failure and sudden (arrhythmogenic) cardiac death. Due to the fact that the incidence for sudden cardiac death is considerably high in patients with end-stage heart failure it is reasonable to include the implantation of cardioverters/defibrillaters (ICD) in the concept of biventricular stimulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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