Author(s): Dazzi H, Kaufmann K, Follath F
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Acute cardiotoxicity due to anthracyclines is a rare, but life-threatening event. Interindividual sensitivity to anthracyclines is highly variable and cannot be predicted for the individual patient. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This is a retrospective study. Medical charts and autopsy reports of patients treated for acute leukemia between 1990 and 1996 at the University Hospital of Z├╝rich, Switzerland were reviewed and searched for anthracycline-associated acute cardiotoxicity. Patients with pre-existing heart disease known to be associated with cardiotoxicity were excluded. RESULTS: Seven patients treated for leukemia with proven anthracycline-associated acute cardiotoxicity were included. In six patients the direct cause of death was acute cardiotoxicity due to the treatment. One patient recovered from cardiac failure but died a few months later from refractory leukemia. Clinical symptoms were those of a heart failure. Pathological findings were dilatative cardiac hypertrophy and pericardial effusion. Microscopically the typical findings of myocardial fibrosis and perinuclear vacuolisated myocytes were seen. CONCLUSIONS: The awareness of acute adverse effects on cardiac performance by anthracyclines faciliates early recognition and prevention of heart failure. Reliable tests are needed for the early diagnosis of subclinical myocardial damage in order to identify patients at risk.
This article was published in Ann Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Leukemia