World-First Guidelines Developed to Help Protect Kids with Cancer from Cardiac Problems during Treatment


eMediNexus    30 January 2023

The first global clinical guidelines for treating and preventing heart problems in children after cancer treatment have been developed. The guidelines for pediatric cancer patients receiving novel molecular treatments—immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy—address cardiovascular disease assessment, screening, and follow-up. They were published in JACC: Advances.


The expert consensus, spearheaded by scientists from the Murdoch Children′s Research Institute, has identified the high-risk group of cancer patients who should get their hearts checked, standardized a screening and surveillance procedure, and offered suggestions to safeguard developing hearts. Associate Professor, Dr. Rachel Conyers, at Murdoch Children′s, remarked that while there are international standards for monitoring adverse side effects on the heart during treatment for adult patients, there are none for pediatric patients.


According to her, the effectiveness of new cancer medications has raised the likelihood of cardiac adverse effects occurring quickly, often within days of therapy, necessitating more frequent heart health surveillance and earlier monitoring. The guidelines, she continued, will be a crucial tool for clinicians in helping to dramatically lessen the negative effects that cancer medications have on young children′s hearts. 


Furthermore, she pointed out that despite novel medicines having early heart problems such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and heart failure, there was no established approach for surveillance or follow-up of young patients during treatment.


A Delphi consensus process was used by the Australian and New Zealand expert group to reach a consensus on 11 areas of cardio-oncology care. The group′s members included pediatric and adult cardiologists, as well as pediatric oncologists. The Australian and New Zealand Children′s Oncology Group approved the study and provided recommendations for any tertiary institutions starting cardio-oncology centers or treating children with cancer. 


(Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-01-world-first-guidelines-heart-complications-children.html )

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