BACKGROUND - Currently, one third of patients treated with cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) do not respond. Nonresponse to CRT may be explained by the presence of scar tissue in the posterolateral left ventricular (LV) segments, which may result in ineffective LV pacing and inadequate LV resynchronization. In the present study, the relationship between transmural posterolateral scar tissue and response to CRT was evaluated. METHODS AND RESULTS - Forty consecutive patients with end-stage heart failure (NYHA class III/IV), LV ejection fraction ≤35%, QRS duration >120 ms, left bundle-branch block, and chronic coronary artery disease were included. The localization and transmurality of scar tissue were evaluated with contrast-enhanced MRI. Next, LV dyssynchrony was assessed at baseline and immediately after implantation with tissue Doppler imaging. Clinical parameters, LV volumes, and LV ejection fraction were assessed at baseline and at a 6-month follow-up. Fourteen patients (35%) had a transmural (>50% of LV wall thickness) posterolateral scar. In contrast to patients without posterolateral scar tissue, these patients showed a low response rate (14% versus 81%; P<0.05) and did not show improvement in clinical or echocardiographic parameters. In addition, LV dyssynchrony remained unchanged after CRT implantation (84±46 versus 78±41 ms; P=NS). Patients without posterolateral scar tissue and severe baseline dyssynchrony (≥65 ms) showed an excellent response rate of 95% compared with patients with a posterolateral scar and/or absent LV dyssynchrony (11%). CONCLUSIONS - CRT does not reduce LV dyssynchrony in patients with transmural scar tissue in the posterolateral LV segments, resulting in clinical and echocardiographic nonresponse to CRT.

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Circulation (Baltimore)
Department of Cardiology

Bleeker, G., Kaandorp, T., Lamb, H., Boersma, E., Steendijk, P., de Roos, A., … Bax, J. (2006). Effect of posterolateral scar tissue on clinical and echocardiographic improvement after cardiac resynchronization therapy. Circulation (Baltimore), 113(7), 969–976. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.543678