Detecting Cardiac Disease in Cancer Patients

Advances in cancer care are helping lymphoma patients live longer than ever, but an increasing number of patients who receive high-dosage radiation therapy are diagnosed with cardiac disease later in life.

Dr. Elysia Donovan

Principal Investigator Dr. Elysia Donovan, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre

A study was conducted at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre to find a method of detecting cardiac damage early so clinical teams can help reduce the risk of cardiac disease in these patients.

Path of discovery

“Our study examined patients who were receiving radiation near the heart,” explains Principal Investigator Dr. Elysia Donovan. “We used a 3D echocardiogram and a specialized blood test on each patient to see if they were effective in detecting damage to arteries or the heart muscle.”

The results of the study will be used as preliminary data for future, larger scale research studies at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.

“These results are putting us on the path of discovering the best approach to identifying early damage.”

“Our results suggest that 3D echocardiograms could be useful for detecting early cardiac damage, while we will require additional evidence to determine the effectiveness of the blood test,” says Dr. Donovan. “These results are putting us on the path of discovering the best approach to identifying early damage in patients who aren’t showing symptoms, which will help modify treatment to prevent further damage.”

Donors making a difference

Funding for the study was provided by the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation Grants.

“I can’t thank donors enough for their support, which gave us this opportunity to conduct our research. Future patients will also be thankful that studies like these are done to enhance the quality of their care.”