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UB electrophysiologist is first author on NEJM paper on new therapy for “heart block” in heart failure

Photo of Anne Curtis.

New research by electrophysiologist Anne Curtis has shown that patients with atrioventricular block have far better outcomes when both sides of the heart are resynchronized.

Release Date: April 24, 2013

The findings confirm what some clinicians and researchers have hypothesized for some time: that heart-failure patients with heart block do better when both sides of the heart are resynchronized.
Anne Curtis, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Anne B. Curtis, MD, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University at Buffalo, is first author on a paper in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that describes the results of the eight-year, national, multicenter clinical trial called Block HF.

Sponsored by Medtronic Inc., the Block HF trial, which enrolled more than 900 patients, showed that significant benefit was derived from cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). The findings showed a 26-percent relative-risk reduction in the combined endpoint of mortality, heart-failure-related urgent care and deterioration in heart function detected by echocardiography.

Researchers and clinicians have hypothesized that better outcomes for heart failure patients with a condition called atrioventricular block might result from pacing both sides of the heart with an implantable CRT device.

“The findings confirm what some clinicians and researchers have hypothesized for some time: that heart-failure patients with heart block do better when both sides of the heart are resynchronized, called biventricular pacing, using a cardiac resynchronization therapy device,” Curtis says. “The results of Block HF may lead to a reassessment of treatment guidelines for heart-failure patients with heart block.”

The New England Journal of Medicine article, published on April 25, focuses on the results of the Block HF clinical trial that first were presented by Curtis, principal investigator, last November at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2012 meeting in Los Angeles.

The complete news release from the 2012 presentation of the results and a link to a video interview with Curtis may be viewed at http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2012/11/13787.html.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
Senior Editor, Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @egoldbaum