Medical City Fort Worth March 08, 2016

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan Suffered from Heart Failure

More than 5 million Americans have congestive heart failure, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Often simply called “heart failure,” the condition was named as the cause of death for former First Lady Nancy Reagan this month.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is not able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. While heart failure is a serious condition, thousands of heart failure patients live with this condition.

One treatment proven to reduce mortality and improve quality of life for patients with heart failure is cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). Designed to help the heart pump more effectively in a coordinated rhythm, cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators (CRT-Ds) help reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. However, until now, thousands of patients nationwide with CRT-Ds have not been able to receive MRI scans because of the potential for a harmful interaction between the MRI and the device. As many as 40 percent of CRT patients need an MRI within four years of receiving a device.

Medical City Fort Worth of Fort Worth is now offering heart failure patients the first and only cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators (CRT-Ds) approved by the FDA for use with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. On March 4 at Medical City Fort Worth, electrophysiologist Senthil Thambidorai, MD, successfully implanted Fort Worth’s first Amplia MRI™ Quad CRT-D SureScan® device.

“The Plaza heart team is excited to be leading the way in improving care for heart failure patients,” Dr. Thambidorai said. “Cardiac resynchronization therapy is an important therapy option that has been shown to reduce mortality and improve quality of life. Patients being treated for heart failure with these new CRT-D devices will no longer be denied access to MRI scans, which can be critical for doctors to detect and treat other underlying, potentially life-threatening conditions.”

The AHA estimates 660,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year, with the rate increasing as the population grows older. Heart failure is also a leading cause of disability and hospitalization.