Sunday, May 4, 2014


ACC Previews Top Cardiology Stories for 2014 Continued growth of cardio-oncology — This cardiology subspecialty is focused on the cardiovascular manifestations of cancer and complications of its treatment. It is offered at select hospitals across the country to help cancer patients maintain their heart health during and after treatment. Look for it to expand rapidly to more hospitals across the country. Cardio-oncology clinics integrate specialty clinical care The survival rate of cancer patients has increased in the last 25 years. In the United States, the five-year relative survival rate of patients diagnosed with cancer between 1975 and 1977 was 50 percent, but it has increased to 68 percent for patients diagnosed between 1999 and 2005. The introduction of more successful anti-cancer treatments has contributed to improved survival. Currently, there are more than 12 million cancer survivors in the United States alone. However, with longer survival, the long-term adverse treatment effects have become increasingly important. "Cardiotoxicity is a common adverse effect of many treatments, and it may affect patient survival and quality of life independent of the oncological prognosis," according to Farouk Mookadam, M.B., B.Ch., a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "Given the prevalence of cancer and heart disease, it is common for cardiovascular comorbidities to influence the choice of cancer treatment." Virtually all anti-cancer drugs that target tumor cell death may result in collateral injury to other healthy tissues. Bone marrow suppression and gastrointestinal toxicities associated with chemotherapy are well recognized and accepted side effects for the benefits that may accrue from the chemotherapy. "Much less appreciated, however, are the cardiotoxic effects of cancer treatment," says Donald W. Northfelt, M.D., a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. These adverse effects can include: • Direct cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy resulting in systolic and diastolic dysfunction • Cardiac ischemia • Cardiac arrhythmia • Pericarditis • Chemotherapy-induced repolarization abnormalities

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