Heart and Cancer Specialists Preserve Your Heart Health through Treatment
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, right behind heart disease. While new therapies are helping more people survive cancer, these therapies also can cause heart problems.
Doctors in a new medical specialty called cardio-oncology are working to solve this dilemma. At Virtua Health, specially trained cardiologists work closely with oncologists to help prevent heart disease before, during and after cancer therapy.
Some chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer can damage the cells that make up the cardiovascular system. These drugs can cause conditions that lead to heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) and heart failure, including enlarging of the heart and swelling of the heart or the sac around the heart. The blood vessels also can be damaged, reducing blood flow to the heart and raising the risk for a heart attack. Chemotherapy drugs also can interfere with blood thinners people take to prevent clots and lower their risk for heart attack and stroke.
A Focus on You
Working together, our specialized cardiologists identify patients who are about to have chemotherapy or are undergoing treatment and evaluate them for a possible heart problem, such as congestive heart failure or left ventricular dysfunction.
One tool to help screen patients is called three-dimensional echocardiography with global longitudinal strain. Strain describes the elastic properties of the heart. By using this technology, our team can identify whether a patient will need pre-treatment with medications to prevent further heart damage.