The Contemporary Role of Echocardiography in Improving Patient Response to Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy

Curr Cardiovasc Imaging Rep. 2012 Dec;5(6):462-472. doi: 10.1007/s12410-012-9172-2.


Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is an important therapy for heart failure patients with widened electrocardiographic QRS complexes and depressed ejection fractions, however, approximately one-third do not respond. This article presents a practical contemporary approach to the utility of echocardiography to improve CRT patient response by assessing mechanical dyssynchrony, optimizing left ventricular lead positioning, and performing appropriate echo-Doppler optimization, along with future potential roles. Specifically, recent long-term outcome data are presented that demonstrates that baseline dyssynchrony is a powerful marker associated with CRT response, in particular for patients with narrower QRS duration or non left bundle branch block morphology. Advances in speckle tracking echocardiography to tailor delivery of CRT by guiding LV lead position is discussed, including data from randomized clinical trials supporting targeting the LV lead toward the site of latest activation. In addition, an update on the current role of Doppler echocardiographic device optimization after CRT implantation is reviewed.

Keywords: Doppler; echocardiography; heart failure; pacemaker.