Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small device placed in the chest of the patient to monitor his heart rhythm and detect irregular heartbeats. ICDs are the most commonly used devices but medical science has come up with the CRT devices: Cardiac resynchronization therapies.
There are two types of CRT devices. Cardiac resynchronization therapy with defibrillator (CRT-D) and cardiac resynchronization therapy with pacemaker (CRT-P). Both the devices pretty much do the same. In the sense, they help the heart to beat more efficiently and they monitor the patient’s condition so the doctor can provide the right treatment for him.
Let’s understand the heart:
The primary function of the heart is to pump blood as well as circulate it. Basically, its job is to supply blood to the body and well the oxygen and nutrients that a body needs to survive. In a scenario where the heart stops doing the above functions then, that calls for concern. In a normal situation, a healthy heart pumps or beats with both the ventricles exactly at the same time and co-ordinates as well. For example, when you make a fist you pull in all the fingers, squeeze in the fingers but when there is a heart failure, the ventricles do not pump in the blood. This can be compared to making a fist with just one finger at that point of time. CRT devices have a role to play here.
What is a CRT device?
A CRT device has two parts: the pulse generator and insulated which are called Leads
CRT (P) and CRT(D): Both, CRT (P) and CRT(D) improve the movements of the heart.
CRT (P) is a normal pacemaker which is used to treat a slow heart Rhythm. During a situation, when the heart is beating slower than normal, a CRT(P) sends in small impulses to both the ventricles to pull up the speed and get it to normal. The ventricles on receiving these impulses start contracting simultaneously and the heart starts pumping more efficiently. A CRT (P) is also known as biventricular pacemaker.
CRT(D) is used when the patient’s heart is at higher risk due to the heart functioning faster than normal. CRT(D) treats dangerously fast heart rhythms and makes them slow down by sending shocks to the heart to come back to normal. A dangerously fast rhythm can make the patient lose his life just a few minutes so the help here has to be instantaneous and CRT(D) does that.
Which CRT device is best for the patient, this is decided by the doctor depending on the pumping and contracting of the ventricles and pumping of the heart. As both the devices are for improving the life of a heart patient and are used equally
CRT devices have small lithium batteries that are permanently put inside the devices and they are not replaceable even when the energy comes down to 0. So, in case the battery runs out of charge, then the entire device needs to be replaced. The doctor is responsible for setting the life of the battery because he is the one who’s been giving the therapy to the patient. The patient needs to check the CDR device on a regular basis to basically know how good is the condition of the battery and if there is a need to get the device replaced. Regular follow ups with the doctor and checking the beeps of the device are the measures necessary here.
Benefits of a CRT device:
One of the major diseases that a human body can have is a heart failure. It’s not only chronic it’s also progressive and early detection of this as well as an early use of the CRT therapy can keep a person out of this danger. It can make him live longer and keeps him away from the hospital during a heart failure. A CRT device has an ability to improve the health of a heart patient but it does not stop the heart failure. A person experiences relief from some symptoms like shortness of breath. They also give energy for a person to do his daily chores and activities.
Once a patient gets a CRT device. he gets the medical device ID card. This helps him to keep a track of his device. The patient has to update his doctor if his doctor changes. CRT device in no way restricts the movements of a patient. The patient can freely and safely travel as well as drive a vehicle but with a doctor’s permission. Normally, the patient is allowed to use the household appliances. Finally, it’s important that the patient shares all the information about CRT device with his family members because in a moment of emergency, the family member should be aware as to what has to be done, where has to be gone and who has to be contacted.