Background: This trial was designed to determine whether cardiac-resynchronization therapy (CRT) with biventricular pacing would reduce the risk of death or heart-failure events in patients with mild cardiac symptoms, a reduced ejection fraction, and a wide QRS complex.
Methods: During a 4.5-year period, we enrolled and followed 1820 patients with ischemic or nonischemic cardiomyopathy, an ejection fraction of 30% or less, a QRS duration of 130 msec or more, and New York Heart Association class I or II symptoms. Patients were randomly assigned in a 3:2 ratio to receive CRT plus an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) (1089 patients) or an ICD alone (731 patients). The primary end point was death from any cause or a nonfatal heart-failure event (whichever came first). Heart-failure events were diagnosed by physicians who were aware of the treatment assignments, but they were adjudicated by a committee that was unaware of assignments.
Results: During an average follow-up of 2.4 years, the primary end point occurred in 187 of 1089 patients in the CRT-ICD group (17.2%) and 185 of 731 patients in the ICD-only group (25.3%) (hazard ratio in the CRT-ICD group, 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.52 to 0.84; P=0.001). The benefit did not differ significantly between patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy and those with nonischemic cardiomyopathy. The superiority of CRT was driven by a 41% reduction in the risk of heart-failure events, a finding that was evident primarily in a prespecified subgroup of patients with a QRS duration of 150 msec or more. CRT was associated with a significant reduction in left ventricular volumes and improvement in the ejection fraction. There was no significant difference between the two groups in the overall risk of death, with a 3% annual mortality rate in each treatment group. Serious adverse events were infrequent in the two groups.
Conclusions: CRT combined with ICD decreased the risk of heart-failure events in relatively asymptomatic patients with a low ejection fraction and wide QRS complex. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00180271.)
2009 Massachusetts Medical Society