MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sadeer G Al-Kindi, MD
Fellow, Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute
Onco-Cardiology Program, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Center, Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute,
University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Al-Kindi: Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the most common causes of death in the United States. They often have the same risk factors (for example, smoking, advancing age, obesity). Many cancers are treated with drugs that can have detrimental effect on the heart thus limiting their use. Some studies have suggested that cardiovascular diseases can worsen outcomes in patients with cancer. The emergence of onco-cardiology programs led to multidisciplinary care of patients with cancer and heart disease. Given this tight relationship between cancers and cardiovascular disease, we hypothesized that heart disease and its risk factors are very common in patients diagnosed with cancer.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Al-Kindi: Using a very large clinical database of 1/8th of the US population, we identified patients with most common cancers that are treated with cardiotoxic medications and identified the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. Overall, prevalence was 33% for hematologic malignancies (leukemia and lymphoma), 43% for lung cancers, 17% for breast cancers, 26% for colon cancers, 35% for renal cancers, and 26% for head and neck cancers. Peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular diseases were the most common, followed by heart failure, and carotid artery disease. Despite the high prevalence, only about a half of these patients were on the cardiovascular medicines and half were referred to cardiologists.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Al-Kindi: It is essential that patients with cancers are screened for cardiovascular diseases with careful history and physical examination. Patients with diagnosed or suspected cardiovascular diseases should be referred to onco-cardiologists or cardiologists for optimal treatment as treating cardiovascular disease and risk stratification prior to cancer management may improve outcomes.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Al-Kindi: The interaction between cardiovascular disease and cancer is complex. It is essential to clarify the role of treatment of cardiovascular diseases in survival and complications of cancer therapy. In addition, it is imperative to study the impact of cancer diagnosis on cardiovascular disease.
Sadeer G Al-Kindi, MD (2015). Cancer Patients Should Be Screened For Heart Disease