[Biventricular stimulation therapy in patients with heart failure and tachycardic arrhythmias. Indications—results—prospects]

H J Trappe
Biomedizinische Technik. Biomedical Engineering 2002, 47 (9): 243-9
Biventricular pacing (BV-P) therapy is a new therapeutic approach in patients (pts) with drug refractory congestive heart failure; the beneficial effects of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) without BV-P therapy in patients (pts) with life-threatening ventricular tachyarrhythmias and impaired left ventricular (LV) function is associated with a relatively high cardiac and total mortality. We studied the follow-up of 410 pts (368 males, 42 females, mean age 57 +/- 11 years) after ICD implant. The LV function was assessed by the New York Heart functional class of heart failure (NYHA). Fifty pts (12%) were in NYHA I-II, 151 pts (37%) in NYHA II, 117 pts (29%) in NYHA II-III and 92 pts (22%) in NYHA III. Epicardial ICD implantation was performed in 209 pts (51%) and 201 pts (49%) received nonthoracotomy ICDs. Perioperatively (within 30 days after implant), 12 pts (3%) died, significantly more frequent after epicardial (11 of 209 pts, 5%) than after transvenous ICD implant (1 of 201 pts, < 1%)(p < 0.05). During a mean follow-up of 28 + 24 months (range < 1 to 114 months), 90 pts (23%) died: 9 pts (2%) died from sudden arrhythmic death and 5 pts (1%) suddenly, but probably not from arrhythmic causes; 55 pts (14%) died from cardiac causes (congestive heart failure, myocardial reinfarction) and 21 pts (5%) from noncardiac causes. 338 pts (82%) received ICD shocks (mean incidence 21 +/- 43 shocks per pt). Our data show that pts with LV dysfunction benefit from ICD therapy and that these pts survive for a considerable time after the first shock. However, survival is clearly influenced by the degree of left ventricular dysfunction and, in addition to ICD therapy, aggressive treatment of heart failure is necessary. Therefore, BV-P is a very promising concept to improve the worse prognosis in pts with moderate or severe congestive heart failure.

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