This thesis assesses the mechanisms by which biventricular and left ventricular pacing improves cardiac performance in patients with heart failure. We demonstrated for the first time that CRT results in an improvement in acute haemodynamic variables in heart failure patients with a narrow QRS duration that is comparable to the effects seen in heart failure patients with a broad QRS duration. In addition, we have shown that both biventricular (BIVP) and left ventricular pacing (LVP) significantly reduce external constraint to left ventricular filling, resulting in an increase in effective filling pressure. In heart failure patients with evidence of external constraint at rest, the acute haemodynamic benefits of both BIVP and LVP were principally due to the relief of external constraint and preload recruitment. However, in those patients with evidence of electrical dyssynchrony and a broad QRS duration, a significant haemodynamic benefit was derived from an enhancement in left ventricular contractility, presumably as a result of a reduction in left ventricular dyssynchrony. Patients with external constraint appear to derive a greater haemodynamic benefit from pacing due to the significant increase in stroke work that is associated with relief of external constraint and preload recruitment, in addition to the increase in stroke work derived from enhanced contractility due to a reduction in dyssynchrony. These findings will inform better patient selection for this therapy and also optimisation of pacing strategy in individual patients
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