Pacemaker-induced transient asynchrony suppresses heart failure progression

Jonathan A. Kirk, Khalid Chakir, Kyoung Hwan Lee, Edward Karst, Ronald J. Holewinski, Gianluigi Pironti, Richard S. Tunin, Iraklis Pozios, Theodore P. Abraham, Pieter De Tombe, Howard A. Rockman, Jennifer E. Van Eyk, Roger Craig, Taraneh G. Farazi, David A. Kass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Uncoordinated contraction from electromechanical delay worsens heart failure pathophysiology and prognosis, but restoring coordination with biventricular pacing, known as cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), improves both. However, not every patient qualifies for CRT. We show that heart failure with synchronous contraction is improved by inducing dyssynchrony for 6 hours daily by right ventricular pacing using an intracardiac pacing device, in a process we call pacemaker-induced transient asynchrony (PITA). In dogs with heart failure induced by 6 weeks of atrial tachypacing, PITA (starting on week 3) suppressed progressive cardiac dilation as well as chamber and myocyte dysfunction. PITA enhanced β-adrenergic responsiveness in vivo and normalized it in myocytes. Myofilament calcium response declined in dogs with synchronous heart failure, which was accompanied by sarcomere disarray and generation of myofibers with severely reduced function, and these changes were absent in PITA-treated hearts. The benefits of PITA were not replicated when the same number of right ventricular paced beatswas randomly distributed throughout the day, indicating that continuity of dyssynchrony exposure is necessary to trigger the beneficial biological response upon resynchronization. These results suggest that PITA could bring the benefits of CRT to the many heart failure patients with synchronous contraction who are not CRT candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number319
StatePublished - Dec 23 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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