Role of echocardiography before cardiac resynchronization therapy: new advances and current developments

Echocardiography. 2016 Nov;33(11):1745-1752. doi: 10.1111/echo.13334. Epub 2016 Aug 25.


The role of echocardiography in improving the selection of patients who will benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) remains a source of debate. Although previous landmark reports have demonstrated a link between mechanical dyssynchrony, assessed by delays between left ventricle (LV) walls and response to CRT, the predictive value of these findings has not yet been confirmed in multicenter trials. Indeed, recent studies demonstrated that the classical assessment of LV mechanical dyssynchrony using delay between walls by echocardiography depends not only on LV electrical activation delay (electrical dyssynchrony), but also on abnormalities in regional contractility of the LV and/or loading conditions, which do not represent an appropriate target for CRT. Recent reports highlighted the value of new indices of electromechanical dyssynchrony obtained by echocardiography, to predict LV response and outcome after CRT including septal flash, left bundle branch block-typical pattern by longitudinal strain, apical rocking, septal strain patterns, and systolic stretch index. This was achieved using a mechanistic approach, based on the contractile consequences of electrical dyssynchrony. These indices are rarely found in patients with narrow QRS (<120 ms), whereas their frequency rises in patients with an increase in QRS duration (>120 ms). Theses indices should improve candidate selection for CRT in clinical practice, especially for patients in whom the benefit of CRT remains uncertain, for example, patients with intermediate QRS width (120-150 ms).

Keywords: EKG; cardiac resynchronization therapy; echocardiography; heart failure; outcome; speckle tracking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / therapy*
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy*
  • Echocardiography / trends*
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests