Cardiovascular management of cancer patients with chemotherapy-associated left ventricular systolic dysfunction in real-world clinical practice

J Card Fail. 2013 Sep;19(9):629-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2013.07.007.


Background: Chemotherapy-induced left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) may limit survival in cancer patients and therefore should be treated timely with appropriate heart failure medication. This study aimed to evaluate quality of cardiac care in cancer patients with documented chemotherapy-induced LVSD in real-world clinical practice.

Methods: Using an institutional echo database, we screened 1,520 cancer patients for first documentation of chemotherapy-associated LVSD, defined as left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤45%. Hospital charts of all 63 patients meeting inclusion criteria were reviewed regarding patient characteristics and frequency of heart failure medication prescription.

Results: Patients were 61 (interquartile range [IQR], 50-70) years old, mostly symptomatic, and had an average LVEF of 34 ± 8%. Most patients received anthracyclines (73%) and/or alkylating agents (73%) as part of their chemotherapeutic regimen. Median time from cancer diagnosis to first documentation of LVSD was 2.2 (0.7-5.2) years. Fewer than two-thirds of patients received guideline-recommended heart failure medication, and only one-half of patients received cardiology consult. Cardiology consultation was associated with a significantly higher frequency of heart failure medication prescription (100% vs. 52% for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (P < .0001); 94% vs. 41% for beta-blocker (P < .0001) and better survival (71% vs. 41%; P < .05).

Conclusions: Chemotherapy-associated LVSD is insufficiently treated in cancer patients. Cardiology consultation improves rates of heart failure medication and therefore should be advocated in all patients with chemotherapy-induced LVSD.

Keywords: Heart failure; cardiomyopathy; chemotherapy; medical treatment.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / chemically induced*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents