Biventricular pacing (BiV) therapy has recently been shown to improve systolic function and cause reverse remodeling in patients with advanced heart failure with electromechanical delay. In these patients, the benefit of right ventricular (RV)-based pacing was controversial. We compared the acute changes in systolic and diastolic function, left ventricular (LV) volume, and intraventricular synchronicity in BiV pacing, RV pacing, and without pacing (No) by means of echocardiography and tissue Doppler imaging (TDI).
TDI was performed in 33 patients with heart failure after undergoing pacemaker implantation, when the device was randomized to BiV, RV, and no pacing modes.
Systolic function was only improved during BiV pacing, but not during RV pacing. This included ejection fraction (No vs RV vs BiV = 24% +/- 12% vs 25% +/- 10% vs 30% +/- 14%, P =.02 vs No), +dp/dt (P =.01), myocardial performance index (P =.01), and isovolumic contraction time (P =.03). Mitral regurgitation was only reduced during BiV pacing (P =.02). LV early diastolic function was depressed in both RV and BiV pacing, as detected by transmitral flow (97 +/- 34 vs 80 +/- 34 vs 82 +/- 32 cm/s, both P < or =.005) and TDI (mean myocardial early diastolic velocity of 6 basal segments, 3.3 +/- 1.7 vs 2.6 +/- 1.0 vs 2.6 +/- 1.0 cm/s, both P =.01). The LV end-diastolic (187 +/- 86 vs 177 +/- 84 vs 166 +/- 79, P =.003) and end-systolic (146 +/- 77 vs 138 +/- 79 vs 122 +/- 69, P =.003) volumes were only decreased during BiV pacing. For systolic synchronicity, a significant delay in peak systolic contraction in the lateral over the septal wall (171 +/- 37 vs 217 +/- 46 ms, P =.004) was revealed by TDI when there was no pacing. This was abolished by BiV pacing, in which septal contraction was delayed (195 +/- 38 vs 201 +/- 53 ms, P = not significant). However, RV pacing restored the lateral wall delay, and systolic asynchrony reappeared (190 +/- 40 vs 227 +/- 56 ms, P =.01). Diastolic asynchrony between the septal and lateral walls was not evident in these patients and was not affected by either pacing mode.
Only BiV pacing, but not RV pacing, improves systolic function, and reduces mitral regurgitation and LV volumes in patients with heart failure and electromechanical delay. This is attributed to the improvement of systolic synchronicity. Diastolic synchronicity was unaffected, whereas early diastolic function could be jeopardized, by either pacing mode.