News | April 10, 2013

Heart Surgery Increases Death Risk for Cancer Survivors who had Radiation Therapy

American Heart Association journal report explains greater risk

April 10, 2013 — Cancer survivors who had chest radiation are nearly twice as likely to die in the years after having major heart surgery as similar patients who didn't have radiation, according to research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Chest radiation to kill or shrink breast cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma and other cancers increases survivors' risk for major heart disease years — even decades — after radiation therapy.

"While radiation treatments done on children and adults in the late 1960s, '70s and '80s played an important role in cancer survival, the treatment often takes a toll on the heart," said Milind Desai, M.D., the study’s author and associate professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. "Survivors are at greater risk than people who do not have radiation to develop progressive coronary artery disease, aggressive valvular disease, as well as pericardial diseases, which affect the heart's surrounding structures. These conditions often require major cardiac surgery."

The study is the largest on how prior radiation affects long-term results from major heart surgery.

Researchers reviewed 173 patients who had radiation treatment for cancer an average 18 years before needing heart surgery. They followed the heart surgery patients an average 7.6 years and compared them to 305 patients undergoing similar heart surgeries who didn't have radiation therapy.

"These are major open-heart procedures, including valve or bypass procedures, and a vast majority had multiple simultaneous procedures, for example, multiple valve surgeries or valve plus bypass," said Desai. "About a quarter of the patients had redo surgeries, which puts them at even higher risk than those having the initial procedures."

Radiation patients had similar pre-surgical risk scores as non-radiated patients. Typically, preoperative risk scores help determine how patients will fare after surgery.

Patients had similar results in the first 30 days after major cardiac surgery regardless of their prior radiation status. However, during an average 7.6 years of follow-up, 55 percent of patients in the radiation group died, compared to 28 percent in the non-radiation group.

"These findings tell us that if you had radiation, your likelihood of dying after major cardiac surgery is high," said Desai. "That's despite going into the surgery with a relatively low risk score. In patients who have had prior thoracic radiation, we need to develop better strategies of identifying appropriate patients that would benefit from surgical intervention. Alternatively, some patients might be better suited for percutaneous procedures."

For more information:

Related Content

Patient Enrollment Completed in U.S. IDE Study of THERMOCOOL SMARTTOUCH SF Catheter
News | Clinical Study | March 15, 2018
March 15, 2018 –  Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies announced today that Biosense Webster, Inc., who wo
Lexington Begins HeartSentry Clinical Trial
News | Clinical Study | February 20, 2018
February 20, 2018 – Lexington Biosciences, Inc., a development-stage medical device company, announced the commenceme
Endologix Completes Patient Enrollment in the ELEVATE IDE Clinical Study
News | Clinical Study | February 06, 2018
February 6, 2018 – Endologix, a developer and marketer of treatments for aortic disorders, announced the completion o
12-Month Results from Veryan Medical's MIMICS-2 IDE Study Presented at LINC
News | Clinical Study | February 01, 2018
February 1, 2018 – Thomas Zeller (Bad Krozingen, Germany) presented the 12-month results from Veryan Medical’s MIMICS
LimFlow Completes U.S. Feasibility Study Enrollment, Receives FDA Device Status
News | Clinical Study | February 01, 2018
February 1, 2018 –  LimFlow SA, developer of minimally-inv
ESC 2017 late breaking trial hot line study presentations.
News | Clinical Study | September 12, 2017
September 12, 2017 – The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2017 includes several Hot Line Late-breaking C
U.K., NHS studies, weekend effect, hospital admission, atrial fibrillation, heart failure
News | Clinical Study | June 28, 2016
New research shows patients admitted to National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the United Kingdom for atrial...
stroke risk
News | Clinical Study | August 28, 2015
Most people assume strokes only happen to octogenarians, but recent evidence suggests that survivors of childhood can
Overlay Init