Radiation-induced coronary artery disease

Am Heart J. 1992 Dec;124(6):1598-602. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(92)90078-a.


Excessive unprotected radiation to the heart appears to lead to the development of CAD, even in the absence of significant cardiovascular risk factors. The coexistence of such factors may enhance the probability of CAD. The presence of hypercholesterolemia and concomitant or sequential use of chemotherapeutic agents (especially doxorubicin) could further increase this risk. Therapeutic decisions, as with any other manifestation of CAD, relate to the extent of myocardium at jeopardy and to the overall diffuseness of CAD. Management options possible are PTCA or coronary artery bypass surgery. The latter may be required in left main artery stenosis and complicated ostial lesions. Use of shielding should decrease the associated risk of radiation-induced CAD in future years. However, clinicians should continue to have a high degree of suspicion of CAD in patients treated with thoracic radiation without cardiac shielding.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Female
  • Heart / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*