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Cleveland Clinic research: Prior chest radiation grows risk of death after heart surgery
Date:4/8/2013

e -- and problems with the electronic signals that make the heart beat.

"In radiation heart disease patients, we often see a very peculiar presentation of cardiac disease," Dr. Desai said. "These are often younger patients than typically present with advanced heart disease, and they often have aggressive coronary artery blockages, valve narrowing or leakage -- in many cases involving multiple valves -- and thickening of the sac around the heart."

The researchers say that it's important for physicians to recognize when the heart disease is caused by radiation and then decide on the best strategy to treat these patients.

"Not all of these patients are at the same level of risk there is a spectrum of risk," Dr. Desai said. "We need to develop ways to identify the risks and better determine which patients would benefit from surgery versus other treatments, like percutaneous interventions, for example."

Dr. Desai said it's important for cancer patients who receive chest radiation to know the risks to their hearts and be aware that they could encounter heart disease down the road.

"If you have had prior chest radiation and you are now experiencing heart problems, the two could be linked," he said. "It's vital that you discuss it with your doctor and find a treatment center experienced in treating patients with radiation heart disease one that has doctors who understand the disease and have the expertise to diagnose and effectively treat it."


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Contact: Wyatt DuBois
duboisw@ccf.org
216-445-9946
Cleveland Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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