Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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A device to fix the heart's rhythm

An irregular heart beat or arrhythmia occurs when one side of the lower heart is electrically stimulated a fraction of a second later than the other side. Doctors don’t know why some people develop this problem, but a device approved in 2001 by the FDA is the single most important heart-failure therapy of the last decade, according to this story in a special report on heart health – Matters of the Heart.

A device to fix the heart’s rhythm

An irregular heart beat or arrhythmia occurs when one side of the lower heart is electrically stimulated a fraction of a second later than the other side. Doctors don’t know why some people develop this problem, but a device approved in 2001 by the FDA is the single most important heart-failure therapy of the last decade, according to this story in a special report on heart health – Matters of the Heart.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy, or CRT, can fix the problem where medications failed. Resynchronization improved heart-pumping strength, exercise capacity, and quality-of-life indicators. Major studies showed it also reduced hospitalizations by more than a third, and deaths by a quarter.

The mortality benefits are even greater when the resynchronizer is combined with a defibrillator, which shocks the heart back to a normal rhythm if it beats too fast. Many patients are diagnosed with both kinds of arrhythmias through monitoring tests and electrocardiograms.
 

"There are patients who probably would have needed a heart transplant without CRT," said Howard Eisen, chief of the cardiology division at the Drexel University College of Medicine.

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Check Up covers major health events in our region and offers everything from personal health advice to an expert look at health reform. Read about some of our bloggers here.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section

Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D. President, Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates
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