Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the potential acute benefit of multisite cardiac pacing with optimized atrioventricular synchrony and simultaneous biventricular pacing in patients with drug-refractory congestive heart failure (CHF).
Background: Prognosis and quality of life in severe CHF are poor. Various nonpharmacological therapies have been evaluated but are restricted in their effectiveness and applications. In the early 1990s, dual chamber pacing (DDD) pacing was proposed as primary treatment of refractory CHF but results were controversial. Recently, tests to evaluate the effect of simultaneous pacing of both ventricles have elicited a significant improvement of cardiac performance.
Methods: Acute hemodynamic study was conducted in 18 patients with severe CHF (New York Heart Association class III and IV) and major intraventricular conduction block (IVCB) (QRS duration = 170+/-37 ms). Using a Swan-Ganz catheter, pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) and cardiac index (CI) were measured in different pacing configurations: atrial pacing (AAI) mode, used as reference, single-site right ventricular DDD pacing and biventricular pacing with the right ventricular lead placed either at the apex or at the outflow tract.
Results: The CI was significantly increased by biventricular pacing in comparison with AAI or right ventricular (RV). DDD pacing (2.7+/-0.7 vs. 2+/-0.5 and 2.4+/-0.6 l/min/m2, p < 0.001). The PCWP also decreased significantly during biventricular pacing, compared with AAI (22+/-8 vs. 27+/-9 mm Hg; p < 0.001).
Conclusions: This acute hemodynamic study demonstrated that biventricular DDD pacing may significantly improve cardiac performance in patients with IVCB and with severe heart failure, in comparison with intrinsic conduction and single-site RV DDD pacing.