Echocardiography-guided left ventricular (LV) lead placement at the site of latest mechanical activation improves heart failure outcomes in patients receiving a cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D). In this study, we test the hypothesis that a strategy of echocardiography-guided LV lead placement improves patient survival rate free from appropriate CRT-D therapy for ventricular arrhythmias. Patients enrolled in the prospective, randomized Speckle Tracking Assisted Resynchronization Therapy for Electrode Region trial and treated with a CRT-D device (108 with the echo-guided strategy and 75 with the routine strategy) were followed to the end point of death or first appropriate CRT-D therapy. Over a follow-up period of 3.7 ± 2.1 years, 62 patients (33%) died and 40 (22%) received appropriate CRT-D therapy. Compared with the routine group, patients in the echo-guided group had improved CRT-D therapy-free survival rate (hazard ratio = 0.64, 95% confidence interval = 0.42 to 0.98, p = 0.038). Patients randomized to the echo-guided LV lead placement were more likely to resynchronize their LV compared with the routine group (72% vs 48%, respectively, p = 0.006). Patients whose LV did resynchronize after CRT-D had improved therapy-free survival rate compared with those whose LV did not resynchronize (hazard ratio = 0.49, 95% confidence interval = 0.28 to 0.86, p = 0.012). In conclusion, a strategy of echo-guided LV lead placement improved the patient survival rate free from defibrillator therapy in CRT-D recipients.
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