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Int J Cardiol. 2006 May 10;109(2):160-8. Epub 2005 Aug 10.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy in congenital heart disease.

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Electrophysiology and Adult Congenital Heart Services, Montreal Heart Institute, Canada.


While cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is of proven benefit in selected patients with severe ischemic or dilated cardiomyopathy, refractory symptoms, and conduction delay, extrapolation to congenital heart disease is not straightforward. This rapidly expanding patient population commonly suffers from heart failure, particularly in the presence of a single or systemic right ventricle. Surgical repair may also contribute to ventricular asynchrony. In this systematic review, the current state of knowledge regarding CRT in congenital heart disease is presented. Issues specific to congenital heart disease including right bundle branch block, right (pulmonary) ventricular dysfunction, systemic right ventricular dysfunction, and single ventricle dysfunction are explored. Evidence-based CRT applications for each of these particular conditions are reviewed. Initial experience with CRT in the acute postoperative setting and longer-term, including our own, is elaborated. Unlike standard indications based on multiple randomized clinical trials, supporting evidence for CRT in congenital heart disease is limited to case reports, case series, and small experimental crossover studies in the acute postoperative setting. The heterogeneous patient population, technical limitations from patient size, vascular access issues, and unique forms of ventricular asynchrony further obscure the selection of potential beneficiaries. Despite these limitations, experience thus far has been favorable. Quality of current data precludes definitive evidence-based recommendations, but optimistic initial results suggest that research endeavors in this field should be pursued. Multicenter prospective collaborative efforts are to be encouraged.

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