Groups support use of echo in cancer patients

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) and the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) have released a consensus statement recommending the use of echocardiography in cancer patients.

In a paper published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography, a team led by Dr. Juan Carlos Plana of the Cleveland Clinic said that echocardiography should be the modern method of choice for evaluating the heart health of patients before, during, and after cancer therapy.

The researchers strongly recommended that all patients undergoing cancer therapy should receive an early baseline echocardiogram. The article also includes recommendations for follow-up intervals specific to each form of therapy being employed (JASE, Vol. 27:9, pp. 911-939).

In addition, the paper discusses the utility of echocardiography tools such as 3D echocardiography, myocardial deformation or "strain" imaging, contrast echocardiography, and stress echocardiography. In a statement, Plana said 3D echo is the preferred choice for monitoring cardiotoxicity.

"But even when 3D echo is not possible, 2D echo still provides excellent information to the clinician and allows for early detection of any cardiac issues, which is the most important consideration," he said.

Early detection of cardiac dysfunction could lead to prescriptions of cardioprotective medications or, if necessary, treatment modifications, according to the authors.

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