Preventing Heart Problems in Children During Cancer Treatment

The high-risk group of cancer patients who should undergo a heart check-up standardized an approach to screening and surveillance during treatment and provided recommendations to protect vulnerable young hearts.

While international guidelines to monitor poor heart side effects during therapy exist for adult patients, none were specific to children.

In addition to this, the success of new cancer drugs has increased the chances of cardiac side effects that occur early on during therapy, sometimes within days, which warranted closer heart health surveillance and earlier monitoring.


Recent advances in treating childhood cancer have resulted in survival rates of more than 80 percent. However, improving serious health outcomes in survivors remains an essential focus and prevention is key.

Heart complications are a leading cause of death for childhood cancer survivors, second only to cancer relapse. Modern treatments including precision medicine have broadened the agents that can cause heart problems.

Childhood cancer survivors are 15 times more likely to have heart failure and eight times more likely to have heart disease than the general population. Hence, this new guideline would be an indispensable tool for clinicians to significantly reduce the harmful impact of cancer drugs on children’s hearts.

The guidelines are a major advance for the cardio-oncology field as before this there was no defined approach for surveillance or follow-up of pediatric patients during treatment despite new therapeutics having early heart complications such as high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeats, and heart failure.

Source: Eurekalert

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