Researchers Offer Protocol for Cardiac Monitoring in Cancer Survivors

Researchers debuted guidelines for a two-tiered cardiac monitoring system aimed at identifying cancer survivors considered at high risk for cardiotoxic events.


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Many cancer treatment protocols increase the risk for long-term cardiac dysfunction, including left ventricular dysfunction, radiation-induced heart disease, myocardial infarction, and heart failure. However, no universal consensus guidelines exist for the appropriate follow-up of at-risk survivors.

Jonathan B Strauss, MD, MBA, assistant professor of radiation oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Evanston, IL), and colleagues formed a multidisciplinary working group comprised of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, cardio-oncologists, and advanced practice professionals to review the currently available literature on the subject of cardiac function in cancer survivors. 

Using data from consensus statements drafted by the American Society of Echocardiography and the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging, they drafted a two-pronged assessment employed during the pretreatment and posttreatment phases. 

The pretreatment assessment was initiated for patients scheduled to receive a type I or type II cardiotoxic medical agent. The second phase of the assessment, employed following treatment, is centered around identifying patients at the highest risk for a cardiac episode and ensuring they receive appropriate follow-up treatment.

“Development of standardized guidelines for assessment and treatment of late and long-term effects of treatment is critical,” Dr Strauss said. “This protocol has been developed to account for the many factors that contribute to overall cardiac risk after various anticancer therapies.”