CRT, or cardiac resynchronization therapy, involves the use of an implantable device for the treatment of heart failure, a chronic and progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
Through the transmission of small, painless electrical impulses, the device can stimulate both lower chambers of the heart (and sometimes one upper chamber) to beat together in a synchronized pattern. Ultimately, CRT can improve the heart’s ability to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body.
At FMC Cardiology — Electrophysiology, CRT is performed by Paul Z. Gerczuk, M.D., a cardiac electrophysiologist who is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Gerczuk’s goal is to provide comprehensive, state-of-the art heart care in a small practice setting, which he believes is conducive to compassionate, individualized treatment for patients who are diagnosed with heart rhythm issues (arrhythmia).
Depending on a patient’s symptoms, the type of heart failure that he or she is experiencing, and the severity of the condition, Dr. Gerczuk may recommend either of two general types of CRT systems: a pacemaker or a defibrillator. Each system is made up of two main parts:
- A tiny, battery-powered computer contained in a metal case that is approximately the size of a pocket watch
- Insulated wires, or leads, that are connected to the heart to relay information between the heart and the computer, and to carry electrical impulses from the computer to the heart
After implanting a CRT device, Dr. Gerczuk will use an external computer (programmer) and programming wand (which is held over the implanted device) to program the device to meet the patient’s specific needs. Then, on periodic basis, he will retrieve the information generated by the CRT device and use it to refine the patient’s heart failure treatment. To achieve the best possible results, CRT is often combined with other treatments, such as medications and lifestyle adjustments.
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