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Impact of contractile reserve on acute response to cardiac resynchronization therapy

Marie Moonen1, Mario Senechal2, Bernard Cosyns3, Pierre Melon1, Eric Nellessen1, Luc Pierard1 and Patrizio Lancellotti1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cardiology, CHU Sart Tilman, Liege, Belgium

2 2725, chemin Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada

3 Chirec Hôpital de Braine-l'Alleud Waterloo, rue Wayez 35, 1420 Braine l'Alleud, Belgium

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Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2008, 6:65  doi:10.1186/1476-7120-6-65

Published: 31 December 2008



Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) provides benefit for congestive heart failure, but still 30% of patients failed to respond to such therapy. This lack of response may be due to the presence of significant amount of scar or fibrotic tissue at myocardial level. This study sought to investigate the potential impact of myocardial contractile reserve as assessed during exercise echocardiography on acute response following CRT implantation.


Fifty-one consecutive patients with heart failure (LV ejection fraction 27% ± 5%, 67% ischemic cardiomyopathy) underwent exercise Doppler echocardiography before CRT implantation to assess global contractile reserve (improvement in LV ejection fraction) and local contractile reserve in the region of the LV pacing lead (assessed by radial strain using speckle tracking analysis). Responders were defined by an increase in stroke volume ≥ 15% after CRT.


Compared with nonresponders, responders (25 patients) showed a greater exercise-induced increase in LV ejection fraction, a higher degree of mitral regurgitation and a significant extent of LV dyssynchrony. The presence of contractile reserve was directly related to the acute increase in stroke volume (r = 0.48, p < 0.001). Baseline myocardial deformation as well as contractile reserve in the LV pacing lead region was greater in responders during exercise than in nonresponders (p < 0.0001).


The present study showed that response to CRT largely depends not only on the extent of LV dyssynchrony and the severity of mitral regurgitation but also on the presence of contractile reserve.