BACKGROUND: The relative contribution of electromechanical synchronization and ventricular filling to the optimal hemodynamic effect in cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) during adjustment of stimulation-timings is incompletely understood. We investigated whether optimal hemodynamic effect in CRT requires collision of pacing-induced and intrinsic activation waves and optimal filling of the left ventricle (LV).
METHODS AND RESULTS: CRT was performed in dogs with chronic left bundle-branch block (n=8) or atrioventricular (AV) block (n=6) through atrial (A), right ventricular (RV) apex, and LV-basolateral pacing. A 100 randomized combinations of A-LV/A-RV intervals were tested. Total activation time (TAT) was calculated from >100 contact mapping electrodes. Mechanical interventricular dyssynchrony was determined as the time delay between upslopes of LV and RV pressure curves. Settings providing an increase in LVdP/dtmax (maximal rate of rise of left ventricular pressure) of ≥90% of the maximum LVdP/dtmax value were defined as optimal (CRTopt). Filling was assessed by changes in LV end-diastolic volume (EDV; conductance catheter technique). In all hearts, CRTopt was observed during multiple settings, providing an average LVdP/dtmax increase of ≈15%. In AV-block hearts, CRTopt exclusively depended on interventricular-interval and not on AV-interval. In left bundle-branch block hearts, CRTopt occurred at A-LV intervals that allowed fusion of LV-pacing-derived activation with right bundle-derived activation. In all animals, CRTopt occurred at settings resulting in the largest decrease in TAT and mechanical interventricular dyssynchrony, whereas LV EDV hardly changed.
CONCLUSIONS: In left bundle-branch block and AV-block hearts, optimal hemodynamic effect of CRT depends on optimal interplay between pacing-induced and intrinsic activation waves and the corresponding mechanical resynchronization rather than filling.