Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) 

Overview

What Is Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)?

This specialized treatment for people with heart failure involves implanting a special type of pacemaker.

If you have heart failure or cardiomyopathy, your lower heart chambers (ventricles) may not coordinate correctly with your upper heart chambers (atria). This irregular heart rhythm reduces blood flow from your heart through your body. As a result, you may experience shortness of breath, abnormal fatigue or fainting (syncope).

With CRT, your doctor implants a small device called a biventricular pacemaker, or dual-chamber pacemaker, to regulate your heart rhythm.

What CRT Does for Your Heart Health

A biventricular pacemaker, also known as a dual chamber pacemaker, uses electrical impulses to help your ventricles contract together to pump blood more efficiently. This specialized pacemaker can significantly improve quality of life for people with heart failure who don’t respond to medication.

If you need it, your doctor may combine your biventricular pacemaker with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). ICDs send small pulses of electrical energy to your heart to restore a normal rhythm after certain types of arrhythmias. Your doctor will determine which device(s) you may need after completing an electrophysiology study.

Learn more about arrhythmias and all types of pacemakers and ICDs.

World-Class Care

Comprehensive Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) Care

Implanting devices to treat people with heart arrhythmias is one of Aurora Health Care’s specialties. As one of the region’s most active and experienced heart facilities, you can expect outstanding care.

We offer:

  • Experienced arrhythmia care: Our Cardiac Electrophysiology team is one of the best-established and most active heart teams in eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Because we have so many full-time cardiac electrophysiologists throughout our health system, you may be able to get a CRT device implanted at several Aurora locations.
  • Pacemaker expertise: We implant or replace more than 800 pacemakers every year. Our experience means that you can expect top results. Our experience means that you can expect top results. We also regularly check your pacemaker, using remote, computerized, automatic monitoring.
  • Personalized care: You are important to us. Every member of our team – from our support staff to your surgeon – will treat you with respect. We will fully explain your CRT treatment so you know what to expect.

Preparing for Treatment

How to Get Ready for Your CRT Pacemaker Implantation

Your doctor will give you personalized instructions on how to prepare for your pacemaker procedure. In general, our guidelines are as follows:

  • Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your implant.
  • Your doctor will let you know whether and when to discontinue any of your medications.
  • Wear comfortable clothes to the hospital. You’ll change into a gown before your procedure.
  • Be sure to arrange for someone to give you a ride to the hospital and home after the procedure.

What to Expect 

What Happens During CRT Pacemaker Implantation?

We’ll do the implantation at an Aurora hospital. The procedure can take two to five hours. You may need to stay overnight so we can monitor your condition.

Find out more about what happens during a pacemaker procedure.

Recovery

Recovering from Your CRT Pacemaker Implantation

Before you go home, your doctor will give you detailed instructions about:

  • Safe exercise while you recover
  • The importance of attending follow-up medical appointments
  • How we monitor your CRT pacemaker
  • Special instructions for living with your new device

Get details on recovering from a pacemaker implant.

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