WHAT IS CARDIAC RESYNCHRONIZATION THERAPY?
Cardiac synchronization therapy is the procedure through which the doctor implants a cardiac resynchronization device. The cardiac surgeon places a small device under the skin of your chest. He connects both the ventricles of your heart to it with the help of wires. It allows the heart to function in a much more organized and efficient manner. In some cases, the cardiac resynchronization device also includes an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. This device generates electrical shock in case your heart rhythm is dangerously out of order. The therapy is equally effective in both males and females.
WHO REQUIRES CARDIAC RESYNCHRONIZATION THERAPY?
The doctor will comprehensively evaluate your condition before advising you to undergo cardiac synchronization therapy. The doctor may recommend this therapy if you suffer from moderate to severe symptoms of heart failure. You may also have this procedure if your pumping chambers are not working in unison, you have a weak and enlarged heart, and there is no relief in the symptoms of heart failure with the medicines and lifestyle changes. You may not be the right candidate for this therapy if you have mild heart failure symptoms. It is also not for patients with diastolic heart failure.
WHAT IS A CARDIAC RESYNCHRONIZATION THERAPY DEVICE?
The cardiac synchronization device is also known as a biventricular pacemaker. This device comprises an electrical signal generation device and the wires of leads. The device generates the signal that reaches the heart with the help of a wire connecting the device to the ventricles.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR CARDIAC RESYNCHRONIZATION THERAPY?
You should get complete information about the risk and benefits of the procedure. It would help you in making an informed decision. Your doctor may advise you to stop eating or drinking from the night before the surgery. Provide detailed information about the medicines you are taking. Your doctor may advise you to discontinue certain medications that may increase the risk of complications during or after the surgery.
HOW DOES THE DOCTOR PERFORM CARDIAC RESYNCHRONIZATION THERAPY?
Cardiac synchronization therapy is a minor procedure that your doctor may perform as an out-patient. You may undergo local anesthesia at the site of implantation. The doctor may also administer sedatives to make you relax. You may also have an intravenous line through which the doctor may administer antibiotics, analgesics, and other fluids.
The surgery takes around 3 to 5 hours. The doctor makes a small incision in your chest area to create a pocket for placing the device. The doctor puts wires in your large vein that feeds the heart and connects them to the device. You may then undergo an X-ray that confirms the correct placement of wires in the heart. The doctor then initiates an electrical signal to check if the wires are working properly. He then connects them with the device and places the device in the pocket. The doctor closes the incision with stitches and secures it with bandages.
HOW IS THE RECOVERY AFTER CARDIAC RESYNCHRONIZATION THERAPY?
The doctor may discharge you from the hospital the same day or the day after the surgery. The doctor may advise you not to perform strenuous physical activity for six weeks after the surgery. Follow all the instructions of your doctor regarding the change of dressing, bathing, and engaging in sexual activities. The doctor may ask you for a scheduled follow-up visit frequently during few months after the surgery. During the follow-up visit, the doctor will examine the functioning of your device and evaluate any underlying complications due to surgery.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH CARDIAC RESYNCHRONIZATION THERAPY?
Like any other medical procedure, Cardiac synchronization therapy may also carry certain risks. The patient may experience pain, inflammation, bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications, heart compression, and device failure.