Getting a CRT Device For Heart Failure

Getting a CRT-D or CRT-P Implanted

Image of ICD in heart

Getting a cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) heart device is not an open-heart procedure. Before surgery, medication is usually given to make you sleepy and comfortable. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. 


  1. A small incision, approximately 2 inches, will be made in the upper chest.
  2. Three leads (thin insulated wires) will be guided through a vein and into the heart.
  3. The doctor will connect the leads to the implanted heart device, test the device, and program the settings.
  4. The device will be inserted beneath the skin and the chest incision will be closed.

After Surgery

After the implant, there may be a slight bulge visible under the skin where the device is located. The leads are very thin and won’t be visible. You will usually stay in the hospital overnight and go home the next day with instructions on caring for your incision. For a short time after surgery, your doctor may want you to limit how much you move the arm closest to the implant site.

Replacing Your CRT Device

During a heart device replacement procedure, your doctor will make a new incision over the old one and then remove the old device. He or she will then disconnect and check the leads to determine if replacement of the leads is also necessary; they may or may not be removed.

The leads are connected to the new heart device and its function is tested. The new heart device is then inserted, and the incision is closed. Finally, the device's therapies are programmed.

Depending on your age and condition, the entire replacement surgery may be done on an outpatient (same-day) basis or may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

When you get your heart device replacement, you may actually receive a newer model of heart device with new features and technologies.

When it's time to replace your implanted heart device, or if your heart condition changes, talk to your doctor about different devices and their features. Only your doctor can determine what's right for you.


Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.