Background: Cardiac resynchronisation is a promising new intervention for patients with heart failure, left ventricular systolic dysfunction and ventricular dyssynchrony.
Objective: The CARE-HF trial is designed to evaluate the long-term effects of cardiac (atrio-bi-ventricular) resynchronisation on the mortality and morbidity of patients with heart failure due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction already receiving diuretics and optimal medical therapy with ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers (where indicated and tolerated).
Methods and results: Approximately 800 patients will be randomised to device therapy or control and followed for a minimum of 18 months. A pragmatic study design has been chosen that does not attempt to conceal allocation from investigators or patients because it is impossible to guarantee maintenance of blinding for the duration of the study. The end-points committee will adjudicate events in a blinded fashion. Since cardiac resynchronisation may alter other aspects of the management of the patient, as would occur in clinical practice, the study should be considered a comparison of strategies rather than simply of a device. The primary end-point is all-cause mortality or unplanned cardiovascular hospitalisation. The study should complete recruitment during 2002 and report in 2004.