This is a new type of pacemaker which attempts to resynchronize the right and the left ventricles if they are found to be beating in co-ordinately (dysynchrony).
The procedure is similar to that of a normal pacemaker implantation; however, as well as an electrode being positioned within the right ventricle, an extra pacemaker electrode is introduced into a large blood vessel running around the heart which allows the electrode to be in close proximity to the left ventricle.
The biventricular pacemaker, or CRT device, can sense signals from both ventricles' and decide to pace both ventricles if the signals are found to be too far apart to produce an adequately coordinated contraction of the heart and thereby a forceful enough ejection of blood around the body. These devices have been shown to improve cardiac function, patient quality of life, improve exercise distance and reduce heart failure events. Not all patients with heart failure are suitable for this treatment, but it is thought that up to 30% of this population may benefit from CRT.
Patients will often undergo an echocardiogram for assessment or confirmation of dysynchrony before the implant procedure and often afterwards to optimise the settings of the device to produce the greatest amount of improvement in cardiac function.