Find a Cardio-Oncology Specialist
To effectively treat cancer, powerful drugs and therapies — including chemotherapy and radiation — are often required. Unfortunately, these treatments can sometimes have long-term effects on a person’s heart.
By combining expert cancer care with extensive expertise in cardiology and cardiotoxicity, our cardio-oncology specialists help minimize the effects cancer treatment can have on your heart. Cardiotoxicity screening during cancer treatment benefits patients because symptoms of cardiotoxicity generally don’t begin during chemotherapy or radiation.
Our Approach to Cardio-Oncology
Specialists from Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and Houston Methodist Cancer Center work closely together to ensure your heart stays healthy during and after cancer treatment.
We screen each cancer patient to prevent early heart problems and catch pre-existing heart disease, as well as monitor for cardiac side effects from chemotherapy and radiation. Our cardio-oncology team works together to manage your treatment and provide follow-up care, if needed.
Additionally, our team will inform you about cardiotoxic drugs and tests and treatments that prevent significant cardiac problems.
What Causes Cardiotoxicity?
To effectively treat several types of cancer, your oncologist may recommend chemotherapy or radiation. Cardiotoxicity occurs if your heart muscle is damaged as a result of receiving these life-saving cancer treatments.
This damage can lead to the development of one of the following heart conditions:
- Blood clots
- Heart failure
- Heart tumors
- High blood pressure, also called hypertension
- Myocardial ischemia
What Are the Symptoms of Cardiotoxicity?
If cardiotoxicity occurs during cancer treatment, there are generally no immediate symptoms. Over time, however, the damage done to your heart may cause the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains or palpitations
- Edema, or fluid collection in body cavities or tissues
How Do You Screen for Cardiotoxicity?
To prevent early heart problems that can be brought on by the cardiotoxic effects of chemotherapy, we use the following tests to screen patients during cancer treatment:
- Blood tests – which can identify biomarkers that indicate irregular heart function
- Cardiac CT
- Cardiac MRI
- Speckle-tracking strain echocardiography – which measures heart function and highlights deformities