Cardiologists and oncologists at Fairview Southdale Hospital are working together to minimize heart disease in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy treatments target and kill specific cancer cells, but at the same time some of these life saving agents can also damage heart muscle. The anthracycline class of chemotherapy agents (daunorubicin, adriamycin, doxorubicin, mitoxantrone) can lead to irreversible loss of heart function and congestive heart failure in as many as 15 percent of patients. Other agents such as the HER2 blocking drugs used in some breast cancer patients can also lead to less frequent and milder forms of heart disease.
The Cardio-oncology clinic was started three years ago to help cancer patients minimize or prevent their risk of developing heart disease. When a patient has been identified as a candidate for the clinic, nurse practitioners work closely with them to provide the needed medication and personal support to protect their heart before, during and after cancer treatment.
The clinic has been successful in reducing the percent of patients developing this type of heart disease to near zero.
The Cardio-oncology clinic is located in the University of Minnesota Physicians Heart clinic at Fairview Southdale Hospital. For more information, call 612-365-5000.