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Biventricular Pacemakers (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy) for the Treatment of Heart Failure

Number 2.02.10

Effective Date June 10, 2013

Revision Date(s) 06/10/13; 10/09/12; 06/12/12; 06/13/11; 06/08/10; 12/08/09; 05/12/09; 03/11/08; 10/10/06; 08/09/05; 07/12/05; 07/13/04; 05/11/04; 08/12/03; 09/07/99; 01/08/02

Replaces 2.02.504

Policy

Biventricular pacemakers with or without an accompanying implantable cardiac defibrillator (i.e., a combined biventricular pacemaker/ICD) may be considered medically necessary as a treatment of heart failure in patients who meet all of the following criteria:

New York Heart Association Class III or IV

  • Left -ventricular ejection fraction ≤35%,
  • Sinus rhythm,
  • QRS duration of ≥120–130* msec, and
  • Patients treated with a stable pharmacological medical regimen prior to implant, such as an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (or an angiotensin receptor blocker) and a beta blocker, digoxin, and/or diuretics

New York Heart Association Class II

  • Left ventricular ejection fraction ≤30%,
  • Sinus rhythm,
  • QRS duration of ≥120–130* msec, and
  • Patients treated with a stable pharmacological medical regimen prior to implant, such as an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (or an angiotensin receptor blocker) and a beta blocker, digoxin, and/or diuretics

*The FDA-labeled indications for QRS duration vary by device. For some devices, FDA approval is based on QRS duration of ≥130 (e.g., InSync® device), while for others, it is based on QRS duration ≥120 msec (e.g., CONTAK CD® CRT-D System). These differences in QRS duration arise from differences in the eligibility criteria in the trials on which the FDA approval is based.

Biventricular pacemakers, with or without an accompanying implantable cardiac defibrillator (i.e., a combined biventricular pacemaker/ICD) are considered investigational as a treatment for patients with New York Heart Association class I heart failure.

Biventricular pacemakers, with or without an accompanying implantable cardiac defibrillator (i.e., a combined biventricular pacemaker/ICD), are considered investigational as a treatment for heart failure in patients with atrial fibrillation.

An intrathoracic fluid monitoring sensor is considered investigational as a component of a biventricular pacemaker.

Triple-site (triventricular) CRT, using an additional pacing lead, is considered investigational.

Related Policies

2.02.24

Cardiac Hemodynamic Monitoring for the Management of Heart Failure in the Outpatient Setting

2.02.27

Acoustic Cardiography

2.02.505

Intracardiac Ischemia Monitoring

2.02.506

Wearable Cardioverter Defibrillators as a Bridge to Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Placement

7.01.44

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

Policy Guidelines

Coding Issues

In 2003, CPT introduced separate codes for biventricular pacing. Note that CPT “dual chamber” codes describe combined right atrial and right ventricular electrode placement. CPT “biventricular” codes describe the additional placement of a left ventricular electrode via the cardiac vein. A left ventricular pacing lead is placed in the marginal branch of the coronary sinus and into a cardiac vein to allow for biventricular pacing for cardiac resynchronization. CPT notes the following:

“A single chamber pacemaker system includes a pulse generator and one electrode inserted in either the atrium or the ventricle. A dual chamber pacemaker system includes a pulse generator and one electrode inserted in the right atrium and one electrode inserted in the right ventricle. In certain circumstances, an additional electrode may be required to achieve pacing of the left ventricle (biventricular pacing). In this event, transvenous cardiac vein placement of the electrode should be separately reported using code 33224 or 33225.”

33224 Insertion of pacing electrode, cardiac venous system, for left ventricular pacing, with attachment to previously placed pacemaker or pacing cardioverter-defibrillator pulse generator (including revision of pocket, removal, insertion, and/or replacement of existing generator).

33225 Insertion of pacing electrode, cardiac venous system, for left ventricular pacing, at time of insertion of pacing cardioverter-defibrillator or pacemaker pulse generator (including upgrade to dual chamber system and pocket revision) (List separately in addition to code for primary procedures).

Use 33225 in conjunction with 33206, 33207, 33208, 33212, 33213, 33214, 33216, 33217, 33221, 33222, 33230, 33231, 33233, 33234, 33235, 33240, and 33249. Thus, CPT describes 33225 as an “add -on” code to other pacing or pacing cardioverter-defibrillator procedures

Description

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), which consists of synchronized pacing of the left and right ventricles, is intended to treat patients with heart failure and dyssynchronous ventricular contractions. Treatment involves placement of a device that paces both ventricles and which coordinates ventricular pacing to maximize cardiac pumping function and left -ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).

Background

It is estimated that 20–30% of patients with heart failure have intraventricular conduction disorders, resulting in a contraction pattern that is not coordinated and a wide QRS interval on the electrocardiogram (ECG). This abnormality appears to be associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Biventricular pacemakers using three leads (one in the right atrium and one in each ventricle) have been investigated as a technique to coordinate the contraction of the ventricles, thus improving patients’ hemodynamic status. Two strategies are being explored: incorporating biventricular pacing into automatic implantable cardiac defibrillators and the development of stand-alone biventricular pacemakers.

One stand-alone biventricular pacemaker (InSync® Biventricular Pacing System, Medtronic) has received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III or IV heart failure, on a stable pharmacologic regimen, who also have a QRS duration of 130 msec or longer and a left -ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of 35% or less. Biventricular pacemakers have also been combined with automatic implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs). Both Guidant (CONTAK CD® CRT-D System) and Medtronic (InSync® ICD Model 7272) have received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for combined cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators for patients at high risk of sudden cardiac death due to ventricular arrhythmias and who have NYHA Class III or IV heart failure with LVEF of 35% or less, QRS duration 130 msec or longer (120 msec or longer for the Guidant device), and remain symptomatic despite a stable, optimal heart failure drug therapy.

In September 2010, the FDA expanded the indications for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) to include patients with class I and II heart failure. In addition to NYHA class I/II heart failure, indications for CRT in mild heart failure include a LVEF of less than 30% and a QRS duration of 130 msec or greater.

In 2005, the InSync® Sentry® system received FDA approval through the supplemental premarket approval (PMA) process. This combined biventricular pacemaker/ICD is also equipped to monitor intrathoracic fluid levels using bioimpedance technology, referred to as Optivol™ Fluid Status monitoring. Bioimpedance measures, defined as the electrical resistance of tissue to flow of current, are performed many times per day using a vector from the right ventricular coil on the lead in the right side of the heart to the implanted pacemaker devices; changes in bioimpedance reflect intrathoracic fluid status and are evaluated based on a computer algorithm. For example, changes in a patient’s daily average of intrathoracic bioimpedance can be monitored; differences in the daily average compared to a baseline are reported as the OptiVol™ Fluid Index. It has been proposed that these data may be used as an early warning system of cardiac decompensation or to provide additional feedback enabling a physician to further tailor medical therapy. Another policy addresses the use of external bioimpedance devices to noninvasively assess cardiac output. (See Related Policies)

Scope

Medical policies are systematically developed guidelines that serve as a resource for Company staff when determining coverage for specific medical procedures, drugs or devices. Coverage for medical services is subject to the limits and conditions of the member benefit plan. Members and their providers should consult the member benefit booklet or contact a customer service representative to determine whether there are any benefit limitations applicable to this service or supply.

Benefit Application

It may be difficult to distinguish the use of biventricular pacemakers for the treatment of heart failure from those used for various cardiac arrhythmias. However, CPT codes 33224 and 33225 used in conjunction with ICD-9 codes describing heart failure (428 code range) may identify the subset of patients receiving biventricular pacemakers as a treatment of heart failure.

Rationale

This policy was created in July 1999 and updated periodically with literature review. The most recent update covers the period from February 2011 through February 2012.

Literature Review

Biventricular Pacemakers and Combined Biventricular Pacemakers/Cardiac Defibrillators

Efficacy of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) in advanced heart failure (New York Heart Association [NYHA] Class III/IV)

Use of biventricular pacemakers with or without accompanying implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) for selected patients with advanced heart failure is supported by a large body of clinical trial evidence. For patients with the following characteristics, this treatment receives a class I recommendation in the 2005 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with heart failure, (1) supported by the “A” level of evidence:

  • Left-ventricular ejection fraction <35%
  • Sinus rhythm
  • New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class III or IV despite optimal medical therapy
  • Cardiac dyssynchrony as defined as a QRS >120 msec
  • No contraindications for biventricular pacing

The current ACC/AHA guideline is accompanied by a review of the evidence, which states that more than 4,000 patients have been evaluated in randomized, clinical trials (RCTs) and that these trials establish benefit for CRT in this patient population in improving functional status and exercise capacity.

A 2009 TEC Assessment of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) in mild heart failure (2) summarized 5 of the larger trials of CRT for advanced heart failure, showing that CRT improves quality -of -life (QoL) and functional status for patients with class III and class IV heart failure. Four of the 5 trials reported improvements in functional status for the CRT group. Similarly, 4 of the trials reported QoL measures, with all 4 showing significant improvements for the CRT group. Hospitalizations were reduced in 2 of the 4 trials, with an additional 2 trials reporting no difference in hospitalizations. The Comparison of Medical Therapy, Pacing, and Defibrillation in Heart Failure (COMPANION) trial, (3) which had the highest enrollment and the longest follow-up, reported a significant improvement in mortality. The other trials reported lower mortality for the CRT group, which did not reach statistical significance.

A systematic review of 9 RCTs of CRT in class III/IV heart failure was published in 2004. (4) This quantitative analysis revealed the following conclusions: 1) improvement of 3.5% in left-ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF); 2) improved QOL, with weighted mean difference on the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire of 7.6 points (0–100 scale); 3) improved functional capacity and a reduction in all-cause mortality of 21%. This analysis also found some evidence that cardiac morphology may be improved, suggesting that CRT may prevent, delay, or even reverse the changes in morphology resulting from chronic heart failure (reverse remodeling).

Efficacy of CRT in mild heart failure (NYHA Class I/II)

Evaluation of CRT in mild heart failure was originally based on a 2009 TEC Assessment. (2) There is less evidence on treatment of mild heart failure compared to that for advanced heart failure, but clinical trial evidence is available. At least 4 RCTs enrolling over 3,000 patients, with follow-up ranging from 6 months to 2.4 years, have been published to date. A summary of the major RCTs in mild heart failure is provided.

MADIT-CRT trial

The largest trial published to date was the Multicenter Automatic Implantation Trial – Cardiac Resynchronization (MADIT-CRT) trial, (5) a single-blind trial that randomized 1,820 patients with NYHA class I/II heart failure to an ICD alone or an ICD-CRT device. The MADIT-CRT trial reported a reduction for the ICD-CRT group on the primary outcome, i.e., death or acute heart failure exacerbation. The primary endpoint was reached by 17.2% of patients in the ICD-CRT group compared to 25.3% of patients in the ICD-alone group. The first component of the composite outcome, acute heart failure events, occurred in 22.8% of patients in the ICD-alone group compared with 13.9% of patients in the ICD-CRT group (relative risk reduction [RRR]: 39%; absolute risk reduction [ARR]: 8.9%; number needed to treat [NNT]:11.2). This difference in acute heart failure events accounted entirely for the difference on the primary composite outcome. The death rate was similar between groups.

A follow-up publication from the MADIT-CRT trial was published in 2011 and analyzed the reduction in recurrent heart failure events. (6) This analysis supplemented the original MADIT-CRT outcome of time to first heart failure event, by comparing total heart failure events during an average follow-up of 2.6 years. Over this time period, there was a 38% relative reduction in heart failure events in the CRT group (hazard ratio [HR] 0.62; 95% CI: 0.45-0.85; p=0.003). On subgroup analysis, the benefit was evident in patients with left bundle branch block (HR: 0.50; 95% CI: 0.33-0.76; p=0.001) but not in patients without left bundle branch block (HR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.58-1.69; p=0.96).

RAFT trial

A second, large RCT was the Resynchronization-Defibrillation for Ambulatory Heart Failure Trial or (RAFT) trial, (7) which randomized 1,798 patients with class II/III heart failure to ICD-CRT or ICD alone, with a mean follow-up 40 +/- 20 months. Unlike most previous trials, this trial did not confine enrollment to patients with sinus rhythm but allowed patients with atrial arrhythmias to participate. However, the number of patients who were not in sinus rhythm was only 12.8% (229/1,798). The RAFT trial was included in a 2011 TEC Assessment. On formal quality assessment as part of the TEC Assessment, this trial met all quality indicators and was given a “good” quality rating.

The primary outcome, death from any cause or hospitalization for heart failure, was reduced in the ICD-CRT group compared to the ICD-alone group (33.2% vs. 40.3%, respectively; p<0.001). There were significant reductions in both individual components of the primary outcome, overall mortality (20.8% vs. 26.1%; p=0.003) and hospitalizations (19.5% vs. 26.1%, all respectively; p<0.001). When restricted to patients with NYHA class II heart failure, the improvements in the outcomes of mortality and hospitalizations remained significant. The mortality for class II patients in the ICD-CRT group was 15.5% versus 21.1% in the ICD-alone group (HR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.56-0.91; p<0.006). Hospitalizations for class II patients occurred in 16.2% of patients in the ICD-CRT group compared to 21.1% in the ICD-alone group (HR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.55-0.89; p<0.003).

Subgroup analyses from the RAFT trial reported that female gender, QRS duration equal to or greater than 150 msec, LVEF less than 20%, and QRS morphologic features were predictive of benefit. Of these factors, the QRS duration was the strongest factor. Patients with a QRS duration equal to or greater than ≥150 msec had a relative risk (RR) for the primary outcome of approximately 0.50, compared with a RR of approximately 1.0 for patients with a QRS duration less than 150 msec (p=0.003 for difference between RRs). There was a trend for greater improvement in patients with sinus rhythm compared to patients with atrial arrhythmias, but this difference did not reach statistical significance.

REVERSE trial

The Resynchronization Reverses Remodeling in Systolic Left Ventricular Dysfunction (REVERSE) trial (8) enrolled a total of 610 patients, all of whom received a CRT device. Patients were randomized to CRT-ON or CRT-OFF for a period of 12 months in double-blind fashion. The primary outcome was a composite measure that classified patients as improved, unchanged, or worse. There were no significant differences reported on this primary outcome. There was a decrease in hospitalizations for heart failure in the CRT-ON group (4.1%, 17/419) compared with the CRT-OFF group (7.9%, 15/191). Changes in functional status, as measured by the 6-minute walk, were similar between groups. Quality of life, as measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire, was also similar between groups.

MIRACLE ICD trial

The Multicenter InSync ICD Randomized Clinical Evaluation MIRACLE ICD study (9) was the smallest of the three studies, enrolling 186 patients with class II heart failure and an indication for an ICD in an unblinded fashion. Patients were randomized to ICD/CRT-ON versus ICD/CRT-OFF and followed for 6 months. There was no difference in the primary outcome of peak oxygen uptake between groups. There were also no differences reported between groups on the secondary outcomes of functional status, as measured by the 6-minute walk, QoL, as measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire, and NYHA heart failure class.

Systematic Reviews

Numerous systematic reviews and meta-analyses have been published on CRT for heart failure. (4, 10-15) The majority compare CRT to medical management and report that outcomes are improved for patients with advanced heart failure and for patients with mild heart failure. For example, a meta-analysis of 25 trials of CRT was published in February 2011 by Al-Majed et al. (11) This study focused on the analysis of trials with class I/II heart failure patients, identifying 6 trials treating 4,572 patients. There was a significant mortality benefit associated with CRT on combined analysis (6 trials, 4,572 participants; RR: 0.83 [95% CI: 0.72 to 0.96]). This mortality benefit was driven largely by the results of the RAFT trial, which had the most number of events and was given the greatest weight in combined analysis. There was also a significant reduction in heart failure hospitalizations associated with CRT use (4 trials, 4,349 participants; RR: 0.71 [CI: 0.57 to 0.87]). There were no significant benefits reported for quality of life, functional status, or progression to more advanced stages of heart failure.

Adverse Effects of CRT Placement

Complications in the main RCTs were not uniformly reported; however, each trial contained some information on short- and long-term complications. Short-term complication rates ranged from 4–22%, with lead dislodgement and hematoma at the access site the most common. Long-term complications were reported by 2 of the trials, (8, 9) with rates of 16% and 35%, respectively. The majority of these long-term complications were lead dislodgement.

A systematic review and meta-analysis was published in 2011 that focused on complications from CRT treatment. (16) This review included 7 trials of CRT treatment that reported on in-hospital mortality and complications related to device placement. In all 7 CRT trials, the device was placed percutaneously without a thoracotomy. In-hospital mortality occurred at a rate of 0.3%, and 30-day mortality was 0.7%. The most common complications were related to placement of the left ventricular (LV) lead. Lead dislodgement occurred in 5.9% of patients. Other LV lead placement complications included coronary vein dissection in 1.3% and coronary vein perforation in 1.3%. Pneumothorax occurred in 0.9% of patients, and hematoma at the insertion site occurred in 2.4% of patients.

Conclusions

There is a large body of clinical trial evidence that supports the use of CRT in patients with NYHA class III/IV heart failure. These trials establish that CRT treatment leads to reduced mortality, improved functional status, and improved QoL.

For patients with milder heart failure, at least 4 RCTs of CRT have been published in the literature. A mortality benefit was reported by one of the 4 trials, the RAFT trial. This trial was free of major bias and reported a fairly large absolute difference in overall mortality of 5.3%. None of the other 3 RCTs reported a mortality difference. While 2 of the other 3 trials were underpowered to detect differences in mortality, the MADIT-CRT was approximately the same size as the RAFT trial and did not show any improvement in mortality. It is possible that the sicker patient population and longer follow-up in RAFT accounted for the mortality difference. Among other outcome measures, hospitalizations for heart failure showed consistent improvements, but quality of life and functional status did not.

Use of CRT in patients with atrial fibrillation

There is controversy about whether CRT leads to health outcome benefits for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Many experts feel that if CRT is to be used, it needs to be combined with ablation of the atrioventricular node, in order to avoid transmission of atrial impulses through the node that might result in rapid ventricular rates, thus undermining the efficacy of CRT.

An RCT was published in 2011 (17) that compared CRT to right ventricular pacing alone in patients with atrial fibrillation. A total of 186 patients had atrioventricular nodal ablation and implantation of a CRT device. Patients were then randomized to echo-optimized CRT or rightventricular pacing alone and followed for a median of 20 months. The primary outcome measure was a composite of death from heart failure, hospitalization for heart failure, or worsening heart failure. This combined endpoint occurred in 11% of the CRT group compared with 26% of the right ventricular (RV) pacing group (HR: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.18-0.73; p=0.005). For the individual outcome measures, there was not a significant reduction in mortality (HR: 1.57; 95% CI: 0.58-4.27; p=0.37), but there were significant reductions in hospitalizations (HR: 0.20; 95% CI: 0.06-0.72; p=0.013) and worsening heart failure (HR: 0.27; 95% CI: 0.12-0.58; p=0.37). There were no differences in outcomes on subgroup analysis, including analysis by ejection fraction, NYHA class, and/or QRS duration.

A post-hoc analysis of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) enrolled in the RAFT RCT was published by Healey et al. in 2012. (18) Randomization in the RAFT trial was stratified for the presence of AF, resulting in 114 patients with AF in the CRT plus defibrillator group and 115 patients with AF in the defibrillator group alone. There was no difference between groups in the primary outcome of death or hospitalization due to heart failure (HR: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.65-1.41, p=0.82). There were also no differences in cardiovascular death or functional status. There was a trend for patients in the CRT group to have fewer hospitalizations for heart failure compared to the defibrillator-alone group, but the difference did not reach statistical significance.

A systematic review published in 2011 (19) compared outcomes of CRT in patients with and without AF. This analysis included 23 observational studies enrolling 7,495 patients, 1,912 of whom had AF. Outcomes in patients with AF were less favorable on all measures. This included overall mortality (RR: 1.5; 95% CI: 1.08 to 2.09; p=0.015), nonresponse to CRT (RR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.12 to 1.55; p=0.001), change in the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure QoL score (mean difference: -4.1; 95% CI: -1.7 to -6.6; p=0.001), and change in the 6-minute walk distance (mean difference: -14.1 meters, 95% CI: -28.2 to 0.0; p=0.05). Five studies compared outcomes of patients with AF who had AV nodal ablation to patients who did not have ablation. Pooled analysis from these studies indicated that AV nodal ablation was associated with a lower rate of non-response (RR: 0.40; 95% CI: 0.28 to 0.58; p<0.001).

A second systematic review that evaluated the role of AV node ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) treated with CRT was published in 2012. (20) This review included non-randomized studies that reported outcomes of CRT and medical therapy. Six studies were included, enrolling a total of 768 patients, 339 of whom underwent atrioventricular (AV) node ablation and 429 who did not. AV nodal ablation was associated with improvements in the outcomes of all-cause mortality (RR: 0.42; 95% CI: 0.26 to 0.68), cardiovascular mortality (RR: 0.44; 95% CI: 0.24 to 0.81), and change in NYHA class (mean difference: -0.34; 95% CI: -0.56 to -0.13; p=0.002).

Conclusions

There is insufficient evidence to determine whether CRT improves outcomes for patients with AF and heart failure. Data from two RCTs report different results, with one reporting improvements for patients with AF and another reporting no significant improvements. One systematic review of observational studies suggests that patients with AF do not achieve the same degree of benefit as do patients with sinus rhythm. For patients with AF who are undergoing CRT, a systematic review of non-randomized studies conclude that when CRT is used in patients with AF, AV nodal ablation is associated with improved outcomes compared to no AV nodal ablation.

Selecting patients for CRT treatment

For patients who meet indications for CRT treatment, there is a large variability in the magnitude of response. Some patients do not respond at all, while others have very substantial benefit. As a result, there is interest in better defining the clinical features that predict response in order to better target therapy toward those who will benefit most.

The Predictors of Response to Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (PROSPECT) study (21) was a prospective, multicenter study that evaluated the ability of echocardiographic parameters to predict response to CRT. Results of this trial indicated that the 12 individual echocardiographic parameters varied widely in their ability to predict response. (22) The sensitivity of these individual measures ranged from 6-74% and the specificity ranged from 35-91%. The authors concluded that it was unlikely that these echocardiographic measures could improve patient selection for CRT.

Ventricular dyssynchrony

A small randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compared outcomes of CRT in patients with ventricular dyssynchrony versus those without was published in 2011. (23) A total of 73 patients with class II/IV were evaluated, 44 of whom were found to have dyssynchrony on echocardiography. These 44 patients were randomized to a combined CRT-defibrillator or a defibrillator alone. Outcomes measures were peak O2 consumption (VO2max), NYHA class, and echocardiographic parameters. At 6 months of follow-up, more patients in the CRT group had an increase of at least 1 mL/kg/min in VO2max (62% vs. 50% p=0.04). There were significant within-group improvements in NYHA class and echocardiographic measures, but the between-group comparisons with the no-CRT group did not reach statistical significance.

Several observational studies of patients who meet criteria for treatment have shown that measures of dyssynchrony measured by various methods are correlated with treatment response, as defined by improvements in left -ventricular end-systolic volume, ejection fraction, or clinical criteria. (24) Although correlations have been found, studies vary due to the method used to measure dyssynchrony, the cutoff value used, and the criteria used for clinical response. Without clinical trial evidence, it is not possible to determine which method and which cutoff will select patients who otherwise meet criteria for therapy who would be better off without a biventricular pacemaker.

QRS duration

Two RCTs were identified that selected patients who had a narrow QRS complex on EKG and echocardiographic evidence (Doppler and M-mode) of dyssynchrony. (25, 26) The Resynchronization Therapy in Normal QRS Trial [RethinQ study]) (25) randomized 172 patients to receive a CRT device, turned on or not, and followed up for 6 months. CRT-treated patients were not more likely to have improvement than non-CRT patients (46 vs. 41%, respectively, met endpoint of improvement in exercise capacity [peak VO2]). A subset of patients with QRS duration greater than or equal to 120–130 msec showed improvement (p=0.02), whereas patients with QRS less than 120 msec did not (p=0.45). The LESSER-EARTH trial (26) was an RCT designed to compare CRT versus no CRT in patients with a QRS complex <120 msec. This trial was terminated early after 85 patients had been enrolled. Interim analysis revealed futility in achieving benefit on the primary outcomes, and a trend toward greater adverse events. These studies confirm that patients with a QRS duration less than 120 msec do not benefit from CRT.

Several meta-analyses of the association of QRS duration with outcomes have been published. The first of these was published in 2011 and evaluated whether patients with modest prolongations of the QRS complex benefited from CRT. (27) This study identified 5 trials enrolling 5,813 patients that reported on outcomes stratified by QRS duration. There was some variability in the definition of QRS categories, but the authors were able to categorize studies into those with moderately prolonged QRS, generally 120-149 msec, and severely prolonged QRS, generally 150 msec or greater. For patients with a moderately prolonged QRS, there was no significant benefit for CRT in reducing composite outcomes of adverse cardiac events (RR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.82 to 1.10; p=0.49). In contrast, for patients with a severely prolonged QRS, there was a 40% relative reduction in the composite outcomes (RR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.53 to 0.67; p<0.001). There were no differences in outcomes on sensitivity analysis according to NYHA class and implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) status.

Other meta-analyses have come to similar conclusions, reporting benefit in patients with a QRS >150, and little to no benefit in patients with shorter QRS duration. (28-30) In one of these studies, (30) the benefit of CRT was confined to patients with left bundle-branch block (LBBB). There was no benefit demonstrated for patients with right bundle-branch block (RBBB) or intraventricular conduction delay. These authors suggest that QRS morphology may be as important, or more important, than QRS duration in prediction response to CRT.

Conclusions

The optimal selection of patients for CRT treatment remains an active area of investigation. The presence of dyssynchrony on echocardiography may risk -stratify patients, but is not a good discriminator of responders versus non-responders. In contrast, a QRS duration of greater than 150 msec, or the presence of left bundle -branch block, appears to discriminate well between responders and non-responders and represents another potential factor on which patients may be selected for CRT treatment. The evidence on this question is primarily from subgroup analyses of RCTs but is consistent across multiple studies and is supported by quantitative pooling of these subgroup analyses in a meta-analysis.

Triple-site CRT (Triventricular Pacing)

Triple-site CRT, or triventricular pacing, is a variation of conventional CRT that uses an additional pacing lead. The rationale behind triventricular pacing is that a third pacing lead may improve electromechanical synchrony, thereby leading to better outcomes. Two RCTs have been published that compared triple-site CRT with conventional CRT. Rogers et al. performed a double-blind RCT in 43 patients referred for CRT. (31) All patients had 3 leads implanted, but patients in the conventional CRT arm had their device programmed to biventricular pacing. The triventicular group had greater improvements in the 6-minute walk distance compared to the conventional CRT group (increase of 91 m vs. 65 m, p=0.008), and greater improvement on the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure scale (reduction of 24 points vs. 18 points, p<0.0001). Complications did not differ between groups; however, since all patients had 3 leads implanted, this was not a valid comparison of complications for biventricular versus triventricular pacing.

A second RCT was published by Lenarczyk et al. in 2012. (32) This was a report of the first 100 patients randomized to triple-site or conventional CRT in the Triple-Site versus Standard Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Randomized Trial (TRUST CRT). After a follow-up of 1 year, more patients in the conventional arm were in NYHA class III or IV heart failure compared to the triple-site CRT group (30% vs. 12.5%, p<0.05). Implantation success was similar in the triple-site and conventional groups (94% vs. 98%, respectively, p=NS), but the triple-site implantation was associated with longer time for implantation and a higher fluoroscopic exposure. In addition, more patients in the triple-site group required additional procedures (33% vs. 16%, p<0.05).

Conclusions

Two small RCTs with limited follow-up report improved functional status and quality of life with triple-site CRT compared to conventional CRT. However, triple-site CRT was also associated with higher radiation exposure and a greater number of additional procedures post-implantation. Further studies are needed to better define the benefit/risk ratio for triple-site CRT compared to conventional CRT.

Combined Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators/Biventricular Pacemakers/Intrathoracic Fluid Monitors

Intrathoracic fluid status monitoring has been proposed as a more sensitive monitoring technique of the fluid status leading to prompt identification of impending heart failure, permitting early intervention and, it is hoped, a decreased rate of hospitalization. There is a lack of evidence from RCTs on the efficacy of fluid monitoring compared to usual care. The available evidence consists of uncontrolled studies that evaluate the correlation of fluid status information with cardiac events.

A prospective cohort of 558 patients from 34 centers identified the number of “threshold crossing events” and the percent of days with such events as predictors of hospitalization for severe heart failure using multivariate regression. (33) Over a mean of 326 days, 953 threshold crossing events in 351 patients resulted in 63 hospitalizations among 49 patients. Each subsequent event was associated with a 36% increased risk of hospitalization; however, the extent to which the presence of threshold crossing events influenced the decision to hospitalize is not known.

A similar retrospective study, that evaluated “threshold crossings” as a predictor of arrhythmogenic events, was published in 2011. (34) This analysis included 282 patients with NYHA class III or IV heart failure followed for a mean of 10 months. Patients were categorized into those who had “threshold crossings” (n=145, 51%) and those who did not (n=137, 49%). Tachyarrhythmic events were more common in patients with threshold crossings than in patients without (3,241 vs. 1,484 events; p<0.0001).

Medtronic, the manufacturer of the OptiVol™ Fluid Status Monitoring feature of the InSync® Sentry system, has announced several ongoing clinical trials of the device as follows. The Optilink HF trial (35) is designed to evaluate fluid status monitoring with the OptiVol™ device combined with wireless transmission through the CareLink Network. Patients with NHYA class II or III heart failure are eligible, and the target enrollment is 1,000 patients. The primary outcome is a composite of all-cause death or cardiovascular hospitalization. The trial is scheduled to report the first results in May 2014.

The Medtronic Impedance Diagnostics in Heart Failure (MID-HeFT) study was a retrospective study designed to investigate the feasibility of predicting heart failure hospitalization based on intrathoracic bioimpedance and to validate impedance measurements as a surrogate measure of pulmonary congestion based on pulmonary capillary wedge pressure. The device that was used was a modified pacemaker and thus was not incorporated into a biventricular pacemaker/ICD. A total of 9 abstracts are derived from this study. One abstract included 33 patients. (36) Among the 10 patients with 26 hospitalizations for heart failure during an 18 -month follow -up, thoracic bioimpedance gradually decreased prior to the hospitalization, in many instances before the onset of clinical symptoms.

The Fluid Accumulation Status Trial (FAST) is a prospective trial investigating the use of the algorithm used to analyze the collected bioimpedance data. The early results of this trial have been presented at the 13th Heart Failure Society meeting in September 2009. (37) Data presented at that time reported that fluid monitoring was more sensitive in predicting acute heart failure exacerbations, compared to weight monitoring. To date, there have not been any publications in the peer-reviewed literature on this study, and no data on other health outcomes are available at this time.

The Sensitivity of the InSync® Sentry for Prediction of Heart Failure (SENSE-HF) study is designed to prospectively evaluate the sensitivity of the OptiVol™ Fluid Trends feature in predicting heart failure hospitalizations with signs and/or symptoms of pulmonary congestion and then to define OptiVol™ clinical guidelines for patient management. The SENSE-HF study was completed in March 2009. Baseline characteristics of the PARTNERS-HF study (38) have been published; study outcomes have not been published in the peer-reviewed literature.

The Combined Heart Failure Diagnostics Identify Patients at Higher Risk of Subsequent Heart Failure Hospitalization (PARTNERS -HF) is a prospective, nonrandomized postmarketing study conducted in up to 100 U.S. centers that was completed in March 2008. (39) The goal of the trial is to characterize the relationship between a variety of diagnostic data derived from the implanted biventricular/ICD devices. Data from this study were presented at the 2008 Annual Heart Failure Society Meeting. Researchers reported at this time that patients with a fluid index that crossed threshold were twice as likely to develop acute heart failure events, compared to patients whose fluid index did not cross the threshold.

Conclusions

The evidence is not sufficient to determine whether intrathoracic fluid monitoring improves outcomes for patients who receive a CRT device. The available evidence indicates that intrathoracic monitoring may be a more sensitive measure for predicting heart failure exacerbations compared to weight monitoring. However, there is no published data that report improved outcomes associated with fluid monitoring. Although numerous trials have been undertaken, as of April 2012, there were no RCT publications in the peer-reviewed literature that report on outcomes and/or the utility of intrathoracic fluid monitoring in the management of patients with heart failure.

Clinical Input Received through Physician Specialty Societies and Academic Medical Centers

While the various physician specialty societies and academic medical centers may collaborate with and make recommendations during this process through the provision of appropriate reviewers, input received does not represent an endorsement or position statement by the physician specialty societies or academic medical centers, unless otherwise noted.

In response to requests, input was received from 1 physician specialty society and 8 academic medical centers while this policy was under review in 2012. There was consensus agreement with the medically necessary statements. For patients with class I heart failure, there was mixed input as to whether cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) should be medically necessary. Regarding the duration of the QRS complex, there was acknowledgement that the literature supported use mainly in patients with a QRS greater than 150 msec, but most reviewers disagreed with restricting CRT use to patients with a QRS greater than 150 msec because that was not currently the accepted standard of care. For patients with atrial fibrillation, the input was mixed on whether biventricular pacing improves outcomes.

Summary

Evidence from clinical trials and systematic reviews supports the benefit of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) treatment for patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III/IV heart failure. For this group, there are improvements in mortality, functional status and quality of life. As a result, CRT treatment may be considered medically necessary for patients with NYHA class III/IV heart failure when criteria are met.

For patients with milder heart failure, RCT evidence from at least one large, high-quality trial reports a mortality benefit for patients with class II heart failure, but other RCTs do not report a mortality benefit. Several studies report a decrease in hospitalizations for class II patients, but no studies provide evidence of treatment benefit on functional status or QOL outcomes. Despite the lower level of evidence available for mild compared to advanced heart failure, it can be concluded that the benefit of CRT outweighs the risk for these patients. Therefore, CRT treatment may be considered medically necessary for class II heart failure patients who meet other clinical criteria for treatment. The evidence on class I heart failure is not sufficient to permit conclusions, as only a small number of class I patients have been included in some of the trials, and no benefit has been demonstrated for this specific subgroup. As a result, CRT is considered investigational for class I heart failure. Triple-site (triventricular) CRT, using an additional pacing lead, is in preliminary testing with only a small amount of available evidence and is considered investigational as an alternative to conventional CRT.

Treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation and heart failure is controversial. Available evidence establishes that patients with heart failure probably do not derive the same magnitude of benefit as do patients with sinus rhythm and that CRT with atrioventricular (AV) nodal ablation is probably superior to CRT without AV nodal ablation in patients with heart failure. However, the evidence is insufficient to determine whether CRT treatment is superior to no treatment for this patient group. In addition, clinical input in 2012 was mixed as to whether patients with atrial fibrillation should be treated with CRT. Therefore, CRT remains investigational for patients with atrial fibrillation.

The optimal selection of patients for CRT treatment remains uncertain. Accumulating evidence indicates that benefit is concentrated in patients with a QRS duration of greater than 150 msec. This factor offers a potential method to better select patients for CRT and potentially avoid treatment in patients who will not benefit. Clinical input in 2012 demonstrated support for continued use of QRS threshold of 120 msec, rather than restricting treatment to patients with QRS greater than 150 msec. Other factors for selecting patients, such as ventricular dyssynchrony on echocardiography, have not been shown to be good discriminators of responders versus non-responders.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements

Guidelines for device-based treatment of cardiac rhythm abnormalities were published jointly by ACC/AHA/HRS in 2008. (40) These guidelines included the following recommendations on CRT for heart failure:

Class I recommendations

  • For patients who have LVEF [left ventricular ejection fraction] less than or equal to 35%, a QRS duration greater than or equal to 0.12 seconds, and sinus rhythm, CRT with or without a ICD is indicated for the treatment of NYHA functional Class III or ambulatory Class IV heart failure symptoms with optimal recommended medical therapy. (Level of Evidence: A)

Class IIa recommendations

  • For patients who have LVEF less than or equal to 35%, a QRS duration greater than or equal to 0.12 seconds, and AF, CRT with or without an ICD is reasonable for the treatment of NYHA functional Class III or ambulatory Class IV heart failure symptoms on optimal recommended medical therapy. (Level of Evidence: B)
  • For patients with LVEF less than or equal to 35% with NYHA functional Class III or ambulatory Class IV symptoms who are receiving optimal recommended medical therapy and who have frequent dependence on ventricular pacing, CRT is reasonable. (Level of Evidence: C)

Class IIb recommendations

  • For patients with LVEF less than or equal to 35% with NYHA functional Class I or II symptoms who are receiving optimal recommended medical therapy and who are undergoing implantation of a permanent pacemaker and/or ICD with anticipated frequent ventricular pacing, CRT may be considered. (Level of Evidence: C)

The 2005 AHA/ACC guidelines (41) suggest that patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and complete atrioventricular (AV) block may benefit from CRT. A prospective cohort of 162 patients indicated for CRT with permanent AF found that CRT without AV ablation was associated with less favorable outcomes than CRT with AV ablation. (42) Response to pacing was defined as 85% biventricular capture at 2 months and 42% of patients responded; non-responders underwent ablation. Evidence of reverse remodeling (reduction of left ventricular end-systolic volume [LVESV] of ≥10% from baseline at 6 and 12 months) was 3 times more likely in ablated compared to nonablated patients. Controlled trials addressing this issue are underway and are needed before recommending the “ablate and pace” pathway that would render many patients pacemaker dependent

References

  1. Hunt SA. ACC/AHA 2005 guideline update for the diagnosis and management of chronic heart failure in the adult: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Update the 2001 Guidelines for the Evaluation and Management of Heart Failure). J Am Coll Cardiol 2005; 46(6):e1-82.
  2. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center (TEC). Cardiac resynchronization therapy for mild congestive heart failure. TEC Assessments 2009; Volume 24, Tab 8.
  3. Bristow MR, Saxon LA, Boehmer J et al. Cardiac -resynchronization therapy with or without an implantable defibrillator in advanced chronic heart failure. N Engl J Med 2004; 350(21):2140-50.
  4. McAlister FA, Ezekowitz JA, Wiebe N et al. Systematic review: cardiac resynchronization in patients with symptomatic heart failure. Ann Intern Med 2004;141(5):381-90.
  5. Moss AJ, Hall WJ, Cannom DS et al. Cardiac-resynchronization therapy for the prevention of heart -failure events. N Engl J Med 2009; 361(14):1329-38.
  6. Goldenberg I, Hall WJ, Beck CA et al. Reduction of the risk of recurring heart failure events with cardiac resynchronization therapy: MADIT-CRT (Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial With Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy). J Am Coll Cardiol 2011; 58(7):729-37.
  7. Tang AS, Wells GA, Talajic M et al. Cardiac-resynchronization therapy for mild-to-moderate heart failure. N Engl J Med 2010; 363(25):2385-95.
  8. Linde C, Abraham WT, Gold MR et al. Randomized trial of cardiac resynchronization in mildly symptomatic heart failure patients and in asymptomatic patients with left ventricular dysfunction and previous heart failure symptoms. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008; 52(23):1834-43.
  9. Abraham WT, Young JB, Leon AR et al. Effects of cardiac resynchronization on disease progression in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction, an indication for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, and mildly symptomatic chronic heart failure. Circulation 2004; 110(18):2864-8.
  10. Adabag S, Roukoz H, Anand IS et al. Cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with minimal heart failure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Coll Cardiol 2011; 58(9):935-41.
  11. Al-Majed NS, McAlister FA, Bakal JA et al. Meta-analysis: cardiac resynchronization therapy for patients with less symptomatic heart failure. Ann Intern Med 2011; 154(6):401-12.
  12. Bertoldi EG, Polanczyk CA, Cunha V et al. Mortality reduction of cardiac resynchronization and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy in heart failure: an updated meta-analysis. Does recent evidence change the standard of care? J Card Fail 2011; 17(10):860-6.
  13. Nery PB, Ha AC, Keren A et al. Cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and right bundle branch block: a systematic review. Heart Rhythm 2011; 8(7):1083-7.
  14. Tu R, Zhong G, Zeng Z et al. Cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with mild heart failure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther 2011; 25(4):331-40.
  15. Wells G, Parkash R, Healey JS et al. Cardiac resynchronization therapy: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ 2011; 183(4):421-9.
  16. van Rees JB, de Bie MK, Thijssen J et al. Implantation-related complications of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. J Am Coll Cardiol 2011; 58(10):995-1000.
  17. Brignole M, Botto G, Mont L et al. Cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients undergoing atrioventricular junction ablation for permanent atrial fibrillation: a randomized trial. Eur Heart J 2011; 32(19):2420-9.
  18. Healey JS, Hohnloser SH, Exner DV et al. Cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with permanent atrial fibrillation: results from the Resynchronization for Ambulatory Heart Failure Trial (RAFT). Circ Heart Fail 2012; 5(5):566-70.
  19. Wilton SB, Leung AA, Ghali WA et al. Outcomes of cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with versus those without atrial fibrillation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Heart Rhythm 2011; 8(7):1088-94.
  20. Wilton SB, Leung AA, Ghali WA et al. Outcomes of cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with versus those without atrial fibrillation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Heart Rhythm 2011; 8(7):1088-94.
  21. Yu CM, Abraham WT, Bax J et al. Predictors of response to cardiac resynchronization therapy (PROSPECT)--study design. Am Heart J 2005; 149(4):600-5.
  22. Yu CM, Abraham WT, Bax J et al. Predictors of response to cardiac resynchronization therapy (PROSPECT)--study design. Am Heart J 2005; 149(4):600-5.
  23. Diab IG, Hunter RJ, Kamdar R et al. Does ventricular dyssynchrony on echocardiography predict response to cardiac resynchronisation therapy? A randomised controlled study. Heart 2011; 97(17):1410-6.
  24. Hawkins NM, Petrie MC, MacDonald MR et al. Selecting patients for cardiac resynchronization therapy: electrical or mechanical dyssynchrony? Eur Heart J 2006;27(11):1270-81.
  25. Beshai JF, Grimm RA, Nagueh SF et al. Cardiac-resynchronization therapy in heart failure with narrow QRS complexes. N Engl J Med 2007;357(24):2461-71.
  26. Thibault B, Harel F, Ducharme A et al. Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy in Patients With Heart Failure and a QRS Complex <120 Milliseconds: The Evaluation of Resynchronization Therapy for Heart Failure (LESSER-EARTH) Trial. Circulation 2013; 127(8):873-81.
  27. Sipahi I, Carrigan TP, Rowland DY et al. Impact of QRS duration on clinical event reduction with cardiac resynchronization therapy: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med 2011; 171(16):1454-62.
  28. Bryant AR, Wilton SB, Lai MP et al. Association between QRS duration and outcome with cardiac resynchronization therapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Electrocardiol 2013; 46(2):147-55.
  29. Stavrakis S, Lazzara R, Thadani U. The benefit of cardiac resynchronization therapy and QRS duration: a meta-analysis. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2012; 23(2):163-8.
  30. Sipahi I, Chou JC, Hyden M et al. Effect of QRS morphology on clinical event reduction with cardiac resynchronization therapy: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am Heart J 2012; 163(2):260-7 e3.
  31. Rogers DP, Lambiase PD, Lowe MD et al. A randomized double-blind crossover trial of triventricular versus biventricular pacing in heart failure. Eur J Heart Fail 2012; 14(5):495-505.
  32. Lenarczyk R, Kowalski O, Sredniawa B et al. Implantation feasibility, procedure-related adverse events and lead performance during 1-year follow-up in patients undergoing triple-site cardiac resynchronization therapy: a substudy of TRUST CRT randomized trial. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2012; 23(11):1228-36.
  33. Perego GB, Landolina M, Vergara G et al. Implantable CRT device diagnostics identify patients with increased risk for heart failure hospitalization. J Interv Card Electrophysiol 2008; 23(3):235-42.
  34. Sekiguchi Y, Tada H, Yoshida K et al. Significant increase in the incidence of ventricular arrhythmic events after an intrathoracic impedance change measured with a cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator. Circ J 2011; 75(11):2614-20.
  35. Brachmann J, Bohm M, Rybak K et al. Fluid status monitoring with a wireless network to reduce cardiovascular-related hospitalizations and mortality in heart failure: rationale and design of the OptiLink HF Study (Optimization of Heart Failure Management using OptiVol Fluid Status Monitoring and CareLink). Eur J Heart Fail 2011; 13(7):796-804.
  36. Foreman B, Fishel RS, Odryzynski NL et al. Intra-thoracic impedance: A surrogate measure of thoracic fluid – Fluid Accumulation Status Trial (FAST). J Card Fail 2004; 10(suppl):251.
  37. Yu CM Wang L, Stadler R et al. Impedance based prediction of CHF admission precedes symptoms in heart failure patients. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2004; 1(suppl):S213.
  38. Whellan DJ, O'Connor CM, Ousdigian KT et al. Rationale, design, and baseline characteristics of a Program to Assess and Review Trending INformation and Evaluate CorRelation to Symptoms in Patients with Heart Failure (PARTNERS HF). Am Heart J 2008; 156(5):833-9, 39 e2.
  39. PARTNERS HF: Program to Access and Review Trending Information and Evaluate Correlation to Symptoms in Patients With Heart Failure. Sponsored by Medtronic Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management. 2010. Available online at: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT00279955. Last accessed May 2013.
  40. Epstein AE, DiMarco JP, Ellenbogen KA et al. ACC/AHA/HRS 2008 Guidelines for Device-Based Therapy of Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Revise the ACC/AHA/NASPE 2002 Guideline Update for Implantation of Cardiac Pacemakers and Antiarrhythmia Devices): developed in collaboration with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Circulation 2008; 117(21):e350-408.
  41. Strickberger SA, Conti J, Daoud EG et al. Patient selection for cardiac resynchronization therapy: from the Council on Clinical Cardiology Subcommittee on Electrocardiography and Arrhythmias and the Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Interdisciplinary Working Group, in Collaboration with the Heart Rhythm Society. Circulation 2005; 111(16):2146-50.
  42. Gasparini M, Auricchio A, Regoli F et al. Four-year efficacy of cardiac resynchronization therapy on exercise tolerance and disease progression: the importance of performing atrioventricular junction ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation. J Am Coll Cardiol 2006; 48(4):734-43.
  43. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Biventricular Pacemakers (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy) for the Treatment of Heart Failure. Medical Policy Reference Manual, Policy 2.02.10, 2012.

Coding

Codes

Number

Description

CPT

33208

Insertion or replacement of permanent pacemaker with transvenous electrode(s); atrial and ventricular

 

33211

Insertion or replacement of temporary transvenous dual chamber pacing electrodes

 

33213

Insertion of pacemaker pulse generator only; with existing dual leads

 

33214

Upgrade of implanted pacemaker system, conversion of single chamber system to dual chamber system (includes removal of previously placed pulse generator, testing of existing lead, insertion of new lead, insertion of new pulse generator)

 

33221

with existing multiple leads

 

33224

Insertion of pacing electrode, cardiac venous system, for left ventricular pacing, with attachment to previously placed pacemaker or pacing cardioverter-defibrillator pulse generator (including revision of pocket, removal, insertion and/or replacement of existing generator)

 

33225

Insertion of pacing electrode, cardiac venous system, for left ventricular pacing, at time of insertion of pacing cardioverter-defibrillator or pacemaker pulse generator, (including upgrade to dual chamber system and pocket revision) (List separately in addition to code for primary procedures)

 

33228

Removal of permanent pacemaker pulse generator with replacement of pacemaker pulse generator; dual lead system

 

33230

Insertion of pacing cardioverter-defibrillator pulse generator only; with existing dual leads

 

33231

with existing multiple leads

 

33233

Removal of permanent pacemaker pulse generator only

ICD-9 Procedure

00.50

Implantation of cardiac resynchronization pacemaker without mention of defibrillation, total system [CRT-P]

 

00.51

Implantation of cardiac resynchronization defibrillator, total system [CRT-D]

 

00.52

Implantation or replacement of transvenous lead [electrode] into left ventricular coronary venous system

ICD-9 Diagnosis

402.01

Malignant hypertensive heart disease with heart failure

 

402.11

Benign hypertensive heart disease with heart failure

 

402.91

Hypertensive heart disease, unspecified, with heart failure

 

404.01

Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease, malignant, with heart failure and with chronic kidney disease stage I through stage IV, or unspecified

 

404.03

Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease, malignant, with heart failure and with chronic kidney disease stage V or end stage renal disease

 

404.11

Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease, benign, with heart failure and with chronic kidney disease stage I through stage IV, or unspecified

 

404.13

Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease, benign, with heart failure and chronic kidney disease stage V or end stage renal disease

 

404.91

Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease, unspecified, with heart failure and with chronic kidney disease stage I through stage IV, or unspecified

 

404.93

Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease, unspecified, with heart failure and chronic kidney disease stage V or end stage renal disease

 

428.0

Congestive heart failure, unspecified

 

428.1

Left heart failure

 

482.2

Systolic heart failure

 

428.3

Diastolic heart failure

 

428.4

Combined systolic and diastolic heart failure

 

428.9

Heart failure, unspecified

ICD-10-CM
(effective 10/1/14)

I50.20 – I50.9

Congestive heart failure, code range

ICD-10-PCS
(effective 10/1/14)

02H63MA, 02H73MA,
02HK3MA, 02HL3MA

Surgical, heart and great vessels, insertion, percutaneous, pacemaker lead, code by body part (right atrium, left atrium, right ventricle, or left ventricle)

 

02H63ME, 02H73ME,
02HK3ME, 02HL3ME

Surgical, heart and great vessels, insertion, percutaneous, defibrillator lead, code by body part (right atrium, left atrium, right ventricle, or left ventricle)

 

0JH63P0, 0JH60P0

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, chest, pacemaker single chamber, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH63P1, 0JH60P1

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, chest, pacemaker single chamber rate responsive, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH63P2, 0JH60P2

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, chest, pacemaker dual chamber, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH63P3, 0JH60P3

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, chest, cardiac resynchronization pacemaker pulse generator, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH63P4, 0JH60P4

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, chest, defibrillator generator, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH63P5, 0JH60P5

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, chest, cardiac resynchronization defibrillator pulse generator, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH63PA, 0JH60PA

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, chest, contractility modulation device, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH63PY, 0JH60PY

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, chest, other cardiac rhythm related device, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH83P0, 0JH80P0

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, abdomen, pacemaker single chamber, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH83P1, 0JH80P1

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, abdomen, pacemaker single chamber rate responsive, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH83P2, 0JH80P2

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, abdomen, pacemaker dual chamber, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH83P3, 0JH80P3

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, abdomen, cardiac resynchronization pacemaker pulse generator, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH83P4, 0JH80P4

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, abdomen, defibrillator generator, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH83P5, 0JH80P5

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, abdomen, cardiac resynchronization defibrillator pulse generator, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH83PA, 0JH80PA

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion abdomen, contractility modulation device, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

 

0JH83PY, 0JH80PY

Surgical, subcutaneous tissue and fascia, insertion, abdomen, other cardiac rhythm related device, code by approach (percutaneous or open)

HCPCS

   

Type of Service

Cardiology

 

Place of Service

Inpatient

 

Appendix

N/A

History

Date

Reason

09/07/99

Add to Medicine Section - New Policy

01/08/02

Replace Policy - Policy statement changed to indicate pacemakers would be medically necessary in select patients with congestive heart failure.

08/12/03

Replace Policy - Policy revised; added new FDA-approved devices combining biventricular pacemaker with AICDs, and updated literature finding.

05/11/04

Replace Policy - New 2004 HCPC codes added describing insertion of combined pacing and AICD devices. No change to policy statement.

07/13/04

Replace Policy - Policy reviewed; references added; no change to policy statement.

07/12/05

Replace Policy - Policy updated with literature review and new criteria from the AICD policy BC.7.01.44; policy statement reworded.

08/09/05

Replace Policy - Policy updated with additional information on intrathoracic bioimpedance; policy statement unchanged; information provided in Description, Policy Guidelines, and Rationale Sections.

05/26/06

Update Scope and Disclaimer - No other changes.

10/10/06

Replace Policy - Policy updated with literature review; policy statement amended to include biventricular pacemakers with ICDs as medically necessary. Intrathoracic fluid monitoring sensors are considered investigational.

03/11/08

New PR Status - Policy updated with literature search. Policy statement to add “ACE inhibitor and Beta Blocker; Angiotensin receptor blocker and Beta Blocker; And ACE inhibitor and Angiotensin receptor blocker” under medically necessary indications. References and codes added. Status changed from BC to PR.

01/13/09

Cross Reference Update - No other changes.

05/12/09

New BC Policy - BC status, replaces PR.2.02.504. BCBSA aligns with our PR version, therefore moving the policy back to its BC version.

12/08/09

Replace Policy - Policy updated with literature search. New Policy statement added regarding class I/II heart failure as not medically necessary. References and codes added.

06/08/10

Replace Policy - Policy updated with literature search; minor updates to the not med nec statement. Rationale section extensively revised; references added.

09/14/10

Cross Reference Update - No other changes.

06/13/11

Replace Policy - Policy updated with literature search and TEC Assessment related to mild heart failure. CRT use in patients with NYHA class II heart failure meeting specific criteria now may be considered medically necessary; all other uses in mild heart failure (e.g., class I) considered investigational. Term “congestive” removed from title and text. Reference numbers 20 and 21 added.

06/26/12

Replace policy. Policy updated with literature review. Rationale extensively rewritten; references 10,11 removed. References 6,10,12-19,22,27,28 added. No change to policy statements. “Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy” added to policy title. Codes 33208 and 33228 added.

08/20/12

Update Related Policies – Add 2.02.27.

10/09/12

Replace Policy. Clinical input obtained/reviewed and added to policy; cardiac resynchronization as a treatment of heart failure in patients with atrial fibrillation added as investigational. New policy 2.02.505 added to Related Policies section.

11/16/12

Update Related Policies. 2.02.15 is now 2.02.506.

06/10/13

Replace policy. Policy updated with literature review, references 18, 26, 28-32 added. Additional investigational policy statement added for triple-site (triventricular) CRT. CRT use in mild heart failure (e.g. class I) changed from not medically necessary to investigational.

03/11/14

Coding Update. Codes 00.53 and 00.54 were removed per ICD-10 mapping project; these codes are not utilized for adjudication of policy.


Disclaimer: This medical policy is a guide in evaluating the medical necessity of a particular service or treatment. The Company adopts policies after careful review of published peer-reviewed scientific literature, national guidelines and local standards of practice. Since medical technology is constantly changing, the Company reserves the right to review and update policies as appropriate. Member contracts differ in their benefits. Always consult the member benefit booklet or contact a member service representative to determine coverage for a specific medical service or supply. CPT codes, descriptions and materials are copyrighted by the American Medical Association (AMA).
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