Lateral Wall Dysfunction Signals Onset of Progressive Heart Failure in Left Bundle Branch Block

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2021 Jun 10;S1936-878X(21)00362-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.04.017. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: This study sought to investigate if contractile asymmetry between septum and left ventricular (LV) lateral wall drives heart failure development in patients with left bundle branch block (LBBB) and whether the presence of lateral wall dysfunction affects potential for recovery of LV function with cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).

Background: LBBB may induce or aggravate heart failure. Understanding the underlying mechanisms is important to optimize timing of CRT.

Methods: In 76 nonischemic patients with LBBB and 11 controls, we measured strain using speckle-tracking echocardiography and regional work using pressure-strain analysis. Patients with LBBB were stratified according to LV ejection fraction (EF) ≥50% (EFpreserved), 36% to 49% (EFmid), and ≤35% (EFlow). Sixty-four patients underwent CRT and were re-examined after 6 months.

Results: Septal work was successively reduced from controls, through EFpreserved, EFmid, and EFlow (all p < 0.005), and showed a strong correlation to left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF; r = 0.84; p < 0.005). In contrast, LV lateral wall work was numerically increased in EFpreserved and EFmid versus controls, and did not significantly correlate with LVEF in these groups. In EFlow, however, LV lateral wall work was substantially reduced (p < 0.005). There was a moderate overall correlation between LV lateral wall work and LVEF (r = 0.58; p < 0.005). In CRT recipients, LVEF was normalized (≥50%) in 54% of patients with preserved LV lateral wall work, but only in 13% of patients with reduced LV lateral wall work (p < 0.005).

Conclusions: In early stages, LBBB-induced heart failure is associated with impaired septal function but preserved lateral wall function. The advent of LV lateral wall dysfunction may be an optimal time-point for CRT.

Keywords: cardiac resynchronization therapy; heart failure; left bundle branch block; myocardial work; septal rebound stretch; strain.