Public Affairs Associate
Brooklyn, NY – July 30, 2009 – Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the pumping mechanism of the heart becomes less efficient. The heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to supply the body with sufficient nutrients and oxygen. CHF, which develops over time, is usually secondary to illnesses such as coronary artery disease and hypertension that weaken or damage the heart. Statistics show that an estimated five million Americans have heart failure.
In about 30 percent of patients with CHF secondary to weakening of the heart muscle, an abnormality in the heart causes its two lower chambers to stop beating simultaneously, making the heart even less efficient. This abnormality is known as ventricular dyssynchrony, which can lead to more shortness of breath, problems with exercising and a higher risk of sudden cardiac death in patients with CHF.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy, which is now available at New York Methodist Hospital (NYM), is designed to correct ventricular dyssynchrony. “Numerous studies have shown that this device can decrease the risk of mortality from sudden cardiac death and improves heart function and quality of life in patients with moderate to severe heart failure,” said Gioia Turitto, M.D., cardiologist and director of electrophysiology at NYM. CRT improves the symptoms of heart failure in about 50 percent of patients who have been treated extensively with medications but still have severe or moderately severe heart failure symptoms.
Gioia Turitto, M.D., director of electrophysiology, left, and David Benson, M.D., associate director of the electrophysiology laboratory.