The cardio-oncology program at Smilow Cancer Hospital is a combined inpatient and outpatient consultative service. It is designed to help address the cardio-toxic side effects of chemotherapy treatment and the problem of co-existing cardiac disease and cancer. The program also provides pre-surgical and pre-treatment cardiac evaluation for patients with cancer.
The program was developed in response to data that indicates newly developed drugs for cancer treatment are having unanticipated side effects. Drugs such as doxorubicin and trastuzmab, which are effective in the treatment of breast cancer and other cancers, can have cardio-toxic side effects that can affect the pumping function of the heart. In addition, a variety of new drugs that are effective in treating cancer can have other effects on the cardiovascular system.
The difficulty with cardio-toxic side effects is that they can mask themselves as normal effects from the cancer treatment itself, such as fatigue and shortness of breath. The cardio-oncology team evaluates patients prior to receiving chemotherapy to assess their risk of developing heart problems. They also create treatment plans to help protect their hearts.
The cardio-oncology program also provides specialty care for cancer patients. Our team evaluates those who may have increased risk to the heart, for example those with co-existing coronary artery disease and cancer, to create specialized therapy.
Conditions that we evaluate and treat include:
- Heart failure caused by chemotherapy
- Arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation and other tachycardias
- Chest pain
- Pericardial effusions
- Blood clots associated with indwelling catheters
- Pre-existing heart disease such as coronary artery disease, valvular disease, congestive heart failure
The cardio-oncology team sees patients in the Multispecialty Clinic on the 7th floor of Smilow Cancer Hospital and Smilow Cancer Center North Haven.