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Review of Eligibility for Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy

      Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is underused. Recent guidelines have expanded indications for CRT to include less severe symptoms but now favor left bundle branch block morphology in patients with moderate QRS prolongation. The prevalence of CRT eligibility according to historical and current guidelines is uncertain. The aim of this review was to identify and synthesize all existing published research reporting the prevalence of CRT eligibility. A systematic review of electronic databases including MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library was performed. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients eligible for CRT according to historical and current criteria. Secondary outcomes included the individual components of eligibility (the ejection fraction, symptoms, and QRS duration and morphology). Eligibility estimates were pooled using random-effects models because of marked heterogeneity in between-study variance. Thirty studies were identified. No study used current guideline criteria. On the basis of historical criteria, 11 ± 3% of ambulatory and 9 ± 3% of hospitalized patients are eligible for CRT. However, New York Heart Association class II in current guidelines is at least as frequent as New York Heart Association III or IV. Approximately 1/3 of patients have QRS prolongation, 2/3 of whom have left bundle branch block. Only a few patients have non–left bundle branch block with QRS duration <150 ms. Medical contraindication or ineligibility was rarely assessed. In conclusion, current estimates of need are outdated. Inclusion of milder symptoms potentially doubles the eligible population. Studies in unselected cohorts are needed to accurately define the individual components of eligibility, together with the prevalence and reasons for ineligibility.
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