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Anne B. Curtis, MD

Anne B. Curtis, MD, led a major clinical trial that shows heart failure patients with heart block do better with a cardiac resynchronization therapy device.

UB Medicine Chair Leads Heart Block Trial Published in NEJM

Published April 24, 2013

The New England Journal of Medicine published results of a national clinical trial led by Anne B. Curtis, MD, chair of medicine, showing certain heart failure patients benefit from treatment that resynchronizes both sides of the heart.

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Anne B. Curtis, MD, discusses the BLOCK HF clinical trial.

“The results of BLOCK HF may lead to a reassessment of treatment guidelines for heart failure patients with heart block.”
Anne B. Curtis, MD, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of medicine

The journal's April 25 issue highlights the findings of the BLOCK HF trial, which enrolled more than 900 patients.

Results May Change Treatment Guidelines

Participating patients suffered from both left ventricular systolic dysfunction and atrioventricular block, caused by a blockage of electrical signals between the top and bottom chambers of the heart.

“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 (CRT) device,” Curtis says.

“The results of BLOCK HF may lead to a reassessment of treatment guidelines for heart failure patients with heart block.”

Biventricular Pacing Improves Outcomes

Through the study, 349 patients received biventricular pacing with CRT devices, while 342 were treated with right ventricular pacing using standard pacemakers. Patients were followed for an average of about three years, including some for more than eight years.

Those receiving biventricular pacing had a 26 percent relative risk reduction in the combined endpoint of mortality, urgent care related to heart failure and deterioration in heart function detected by echocardiography.

Medtronic, Inc., the manufacturer of the implantable resynchronization device, sponsored the study.

Findings Presented at 2012 AHA Meeting

Curtis, the principal investigator, presented the BLOCK HF findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012 meeting in Los Angeles last November.

She is the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Charles and Mary Bauer Professor.