Every day cardiologists do their utmost to improve the lives of patients with heart failure. Despite all their efforts, standard therapy does not lead to the desired results in many patients, who ultimately may need heart transplantation. A therapeutic alternative for these patients is Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT).
Over the past twenty years CRT, an advanced cardiac pacemaker system, has become standard therapy for patients with heart failure and left ventricular dyssynchrony. During the CRT procedure a pacemaker device with several electrodes (leads) is implanted in the heart to improve the impaired contraction of the heart, thereby preventing further decrease of heart function.
In about 70% of patients undergoing the procedure, CRT results in a more synchronous contraction, a better pump function of the heart and a better prognosis for the patient.
However, despite the overall positive effect, about 30% of heart failure patients do not benefit from this therapy at all. The main reason is incorrect placement of one of the stimulation electrodes (the one implanted in the left ventricle of the heart. In discussions with CRT-implanting cardiologists and in recent literature this is consistently mentioned as the main challenge related to CRT.
Needless to say, this leads to enormous wastage of devices and healthcare budget.