Cardiac toxicity is one of the most concerning side effects of anti-cancer therapy. The gain in life expectancy obtained with anti-cancer therapy can be compromised by increased morbidity and mortality associated with its cardiac complications. While radiosensitivity of the heart was initially recognized only in the early 1970s, the heart is regarded in the current era as one of the most critical dose-limiting organs in radiotherapy. Several clinical studies have identified adverse clinical consequences of radiation-induced heart disease (RIHD) on the outcome of long-term cancer survivors. A comprehensive review of potential cardiac complications related to radiotherapy is warranted. An evidence-based review of several imaging approaches used to detect, evaluate, and monitor RIHD is discussed. Recommendations for the early identification and monitoring of cardiovascular complications of radiotherapy by cardiac imaging are also proposed.
Keywords: Cardiac computed tomography; Cardiac magnetic resonance; Echocardiography; Heart disease; Nuclear cardiology; Radiotherapy.
Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.