Background: Cardiac resynchronization therapy improves mortality and morbidity in patients with heart failure (HF) with wide QRS complex and diminished left ventricular (LV) function, but response is variable.
Methods and results: The Speckle Tracking Assisted Resynchronization Therapy for Electrode Region (STARTER) was a prospective, double-blind, randomized controlled trial testing the hypothesis that an incremental benefit to cardiac resynchronization therapy would be gained by echo-guided (EG) transvenous LV lead placement versus a routine fluoroscopic approach. EG LV lead placement was attempted at the site of latest time to peak radial strain by speckle tracking echocardiography. The prespecified primary end point was first HF hospitalization or death. Of 187 New York Heart Association class II to IV patients with HF (62% ischemic; ejection fraction 26±6%; QRS 159±27 ms), 110 were randomized to EG and 77 to routine strategies. Primary events included 30 deaths and 37 HF hospitalizations over 1.8 years. Using intention-to-treat, patients randomized to an EG strategy had a significantly more favorable event-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.28-0.82; P=0.006). Exact or adjacent concordance of LV lead with latest site could be achieved in 85% of the EG group and occurred fortuitously in 66% of controls (P=0.010) and was associated with an improvement in event-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.40; 95% confidence interval, 0.22-0.71; P=0.002).
Conclusions: A strategy of EG LV lead placement for cardiac resynchronization therapy improved patient outcomes by reducing the combined risk of death or HF hospitalizations and has implications for delivery of cardiac resynchronization therapy.
Clinical trial registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00156390.
Keywords: LV lead position; cardiac resynchronization therapy; death; heart failure hospitalization; speckle tracking echocardiography.