Vol 27, No 6 (2020)
Review Article
Published online: 2018-10-16

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Cardiovascular complications after radiotherapy

Izabela Nabiałek-Trojanowska1, Ewa Lewicka2, Anna Wrona3, Anna M. Kaleta2, Zuzanna Lewicka-Potocka1, Grzegorz Raczak2, Rafał Dziadziuszko3
Pubmed: 30338841
Cardiol J 2020;27(6):836-847.


Over the past decades, effective cancer therapies have resulted in a significant improvement in the
survival rates for a number of cancers and an increase in the number of cancer survivors. Radiation
therapy is widely used in the treatment of cancer, and it can induce various cardiotoxicities that differ
considerably from chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity. They occur primarily as late radiation-induced
complications, several years from the end of anticancer treatment and present as coronary artery disease,
heart failure, pericardial disease, valvular heart disease and arrhythmias. Patients who recovered
from cancer disease suffer from cardiac complications of anticancer treatment, it affects the quality of
their lives and life expectancy, especially if the diagnosis is delayed. These patients may present distinct
symptoms of cardiac injury, resulting from radiation-induced neurotoxicity and altered pain perception,
which makes diagnosis difficult. This review highlights the need for a screening programme for patients
who have undergone radiation therapy and which will subsequently have a potentially profound impact
on morbidity and mortality.

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