Skip to Content

Heart Month: Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Used to Treat Heart Rhythm Disorders

In Brief

  • Crozer-Keystone physicians are using Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) to treat patients who have diminished heart function and need special pacemaker therapy to synchronize the pumping action of the heart.
  • The CRT device is similar in size, shape and weight to a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator. It also uses a battery sealed within to provide necessary electrical impulses to keep the heart's pace synchronized.
  • The procedure to insert the CRT device normally takes two to three hours and patients are usually discharged the next day with minimal discomfort.

Crozer-Keystone physicians are using Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) to treat patients who have diminished heart function and need special pacemaker therapy to synchronize the pumping action of the heart.

“In the normal heart, its electrical conduction system delivers impulses uniformly to keep the chambers pumping in synch,” says Scott Hessen, M.D., medical director of the Electrophysiology Laboratory at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “Some patients with heart failure have electrical pathways that are damaged, so the heart muscle cannot pump blood efficiently throughout the circulatory system. For these patients, CRT offers a way to restore the efficiency of heart contraction, resulting in the heart pumping more blood with each beat.”

The CRT device is similar in size, shape and weight to a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator. It also uses a battery sealed within to provide necessary electrical impulses to keep the heart’s pace synchronized. The device has three leads (right atrial, right ventricular and left ventricular) that synchronize ventricular contractions. The result is a more efficient heart, and more importantly, a better quality of life for patients.

According to Hessen, CRT is not for all heart failure patients. “About one out of every three heart failure patients will benefit from CRT. It can make a remarkable difference in their lives. In many ways, CRT acts like a tune-up for a car. The engine won’t have more cylinders, but it is more efficient, which results in better performance,” Hessen says.

Physicians have found that cardiac resynchronization therapy can offer patients a number of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased exercise capacity
  • Reduction in hospitalization for heart failure
  • Reduction in mortality rates. 

“CRT allows the heart to pump and circulate blood in a more efficient manner without using additional energy,” says Ancil Jones, M.D., chief of the Division of Cardiology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “Although CRT cannot reverse the damage done to the heart, it can help to alleviate the most troublesome symptoms of heart failure and synchronize heart rhythm disorders.”

The procedure to insert the CRT device normally takes two to three hours. Patients are usually discharged the next day with minimal discomfort.

Patients should be aware that heart rhythm disorders are caused by many different types of heart disease.

“Many life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders) are caused by structural abnormalities of the heart, specifically coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, or advanced valvular heart disease,” adds Jones. “The end result of these conditions is scarring of heart muscle, which sets up the substrate enabling these arrhythmias. Other arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, can also be caused by common conditions such as hypertension, sleep apnea or diabetes.”

To learn more about Crozer-Keystone cardiac services, visit http://ckheart.crozer.org. To request an appointment with a Crozer-Keystone cardiologist, call 1-866-95-PULSE (1-866-957-8573) or visit http://ckheart.crozer.org.

Contact Us

Crozer-Keystone Health System

Grant Gegwich, Vice President

Phone: 610-447-6316
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-604-1728

Crozer-Chester Medical Center

Grant Gegwich, Vice President

Phone: 610-447-6316
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-604-1728

Kate Stier, Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-541-3130

Community Hospital

Grant Gegwich, Vice President

Phone: 610-447-6316
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-604-1728

Kate Stier,  Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-541-3130

Springfield Hospital

Grant Gegwich, Vice President

Phone: 610-447-6316
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-604-1728

Kate Stier,  Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-541-3130

Healthplex Sports Club

Grant Gegwich, Vice President

Phone: 610-447-6316
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-604-1728

Kate Stier, Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
Fax: 610-447-2015
Pager: 610-541-3130

Delaware County Memorial Hospital

Mary Wascavage
Director of Public Relations and Marketing

Phone: 610-284-8619
Fax: 610-284-8606
Pager: 610-318-0861

Taylor Hospital

Mary Wascavage, Director

Phone: 610-284-8619
Fax: 610-284-8606
Pager: 610-318-0861