Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Response Assessment with Electromechanical Activation Mapping within 24 Hours of Device Implantation: A Pilot Study

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2021 Jul;34(7):757-766.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2021.02.012. Epub 2021 Mar 4.


Background: Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) response assessment relies on the QRS complex narrowing criterion. Yet one third of patients do not improve despite narrowed QRS after implantation. Electromechanical wave imaging (EWI) is a quantitative echocardiography-based technique capable of noninvasively mapping cardiac electromechanical activation in three dimensions. The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate the EWI technique, sensitive to ventricular dyssynchrony, for informing CRT response on the day of implantation.

Methods: Forty-four patients with heart failure with left bundle branch block or right ventricular (RV) paced rhythm and decreased left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF; mean, 25.3 ± 9.6%) underwent EWI without and with CRT within 24 hours of device implantation. Of those, 16 were also scanned while in left ventricular (LV) pacing. Improvement in LVEF at 3-, 6-, or 9-month follow-up defined (1) super-responders (ΔLVEF ≥ 20%), (2) responders (10% ≤ ΔLVEF < 20%), and (3) nonresponders (ΔLVEF ≤ 5%). Three-dimensionally rendered electromechanical maps were obtained under RV, LV, and biventricular CRT pacing conditions. Mean RV free wall and LV lateral wall activation times were computed. The percentage of resynchronized myocardium was measured by quantifying the percentage of the left ventricle activated within 120 msec of QRS onset. Correlations between percentage of resynchronized myocardium and type of CRT response were assessed.

Results: LV lateral wall activation time was significantly different (P ≤ .05) among all three pacing conditions in the 16 patients: LV lateral wall activation time with CRT in biventricular pacing (73.1 ± 17.6 msec) was lower compared with LV pacing (89.5 ± 21.5 msec) and RV pacing (120.3 ± 17.8 msec). Retrospective analysis showed that the percentage of resynchronized myocardium with CRT was a reliable response predictor within 24 hours of implantation for significantly (P ≤ .05) identifying super-responders (n = 7; 97.7 ± 1.9%) from nonresponders (n = 17; 89.9 ± 9.9%).

Conclusion: Electromechanical activation mapping constitutes a valuable three-dimensional visualization tool within 24 hours of implantation and could potentially aid in the timely assessment of CRT response rates, including during implantation for adjustment of lead placement and pacing outcomes.

Keywords: Cardiac resynchronization therapy; Echocardiography; Electromechanical wave imaging; Heart failure; Response prediction; Ventricular resynchrony assessment.