Background: Longitudinal studies of cardiac function in long-term childhood cancer survivors are scarce and frequently concern a median follow-up shorter than 13 years.
Patients and methods: Cardiac assessment was performed in 22 doxorubicin-treated long-term survivors of a malignant bone tumour at median 22 years (range 15-27.5) post-treatment. Age at follow-up was 39 years (range 27-59) and cumulative dose of doxorubicin was 360 mg/m(2) (range 225-550). Cardiac function was assessed by echocardiography and (24-h) ECG. The results were compared with those of earlier assessments at 9 years (1992) and 14 years (1997) post-treatment.
Results: Systolic dysfunction was found in 27% (9% in 1997; P = 0.02) and diastolic dysfunction in 45% (18% in 1997; P = 0.02). Heart rate variability showed further deterioration compared with earlier results.
Conclusions: Twenty-two years after doxorubicin-treatment, bone tumour survivors showed progressive cardiac dysfunction.