Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy

Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Therapy

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices help your heart beat more efficiently and monitor your condition so your doctor can provide the right treatment for you. Find out more about how your device works below.

What is a CRT Device?

A CRT system consists of two components— the pulse generator, or device, and thin, insulated wires called leads. A CRT device delivers tiny amounts of electrical energy to the heart through these leads. This helps restore the normal timing of the heartbeats, causing both ventricles to pump together more efficiently like a fist closing normally again.

Types of CRTs

There are two types of CRT devices. One is a special kind of pacemaker. It’s called a cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemaker (CRT-P) or “biventricular pacemaker.” The other is the same device, but it also includes a built-in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This type is called a cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D).

How CRT-P Devices Work

While functioning as a normal pacemaker to treat slow heart rhythms, a CRT-P device also delivers small electrical impulses to the left and right ventricles to help them contract at the same time so your heart pumps more efficiently.

How CRT-D Devices Work

A CRT-D is a special device for heart failure patients who are also at high risk for sudden cardiac death. While functioning like a normal pacemaker to treat slow heart rhythms, a CRT-D device also delivers small electrical impulses to the left and right ventricles to help them contract at the same time. This will help your heart pump more efficiently.

A CRT-D device can also treat dangerously fast heart rhythms (arrhythmias) that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. If the device senses heartbeats that are dangerously fast, it delivers a shock to the heart. This shock (defibrillation) stops the abnormal rhythm. Without this life-saving therapy, the dangerously rapid rhythm could lead to death in just minutes.