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Cardio-Oncology
(Heart & Cancer)

Heart Diseases Managed

Cardio-Oncology

A new field in cardiology where cardiologist assess cancer survivors or patients getting cancer treatment who develop side effects that affect the function of the heart.

Cardiotoxicity

Cardiotoxicity usually refers to adverse effect on the heart soon after chemotherapy begins or may occur within days or months or years after cancer treatment. The potential adverse effects of chemotherapy include weakening of the heart muscle, prolong QT interval on ECG (heart electric tracing) and abnormal heart rhythm.

Risk Factors for Cardiotoxicity

These include diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, heart disease (eg heart attack or valvular abnormalities) and high cholesterol which may have an increased risk of developing significant heart problem following radiation and/or chemotherapy. It is important to address and optimally manage these risk factors prior, during and after cancer treatment.

Potential Symptoms of Cardiotoxicity

Symptoms and signs : shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, palpitation, ankle swelling, cough, dizzy spell and syncope.

Chemotherapy related Cardiotoxicity

Not all chemotherapy drugs cause cardiotoxicity. The potential chemotherapy drugs related to cardiotoxicity include :

  • (1) Anthracyclines ( a class of drugs)
  • (2) Targeted therapies : (a) Monoclonal antibodies; (b) Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (c) Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (d) Proteasome Inhibitors
  • (3) Alkylating agents
  • (4) Antimicrotubule agents

Radiation and Heart Disease

Radiation cardiotoxicity may affect the heart in various ways and at any time. Depending on which area of the heart is affected by radiotherapy, these adverse effects can occur due to injury to the heart muscle, the heart valves, the heart lining, or blood vessels. Examples of the conditions that may develop include heart failure, blockage of heart blood vessel, heart valve disease and heart rhythm problem.

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