First ever guidelines to reduce cardiac issues in children with cancer
First-ever global clinical recommendations for avoiding and treating heart issues in children of cancer patients have been created.
Experts: Advances in paediatric cancer patients undergoing innovative molecular therapies, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy address cardiovascular disease evaluation, screening, and follow-up.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute-led expert consensus identified the high-risk cancer patient population who should undergo a heart examination, standardised a screening and surveillance strategy during treatment, and offered suggestions to safeguard developing hearts.
Associate Professor 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 paediatric patients.
According to Associate Professor Conyers, the effectiveness of new cancer medications has raised the likelihood of cardiac side effects occurring quickly, often within days of therapy, which calls for more frequent heart health surveillance and earlier monitoring.
More than 80% of children with cancer survive after receiving treatment thanks to recent advancements. However, she noted that prevention is critical and that improving serious health outcomes for survivors remains a priority.
The second biggest cause of death for childhood cancer survivors, behind relapse, is heart problems. The agents that can cause heart problems have expanded due to modern therapies, such as precision medicine, she claimed.
Heart failure and heart disease are 15 and 8 times more common, respectively, in childhood cancer survivors than in the general population.
According to Associate Professor Conyers, the recommendations would be a vital tool for clinicians to dramatically lessen the negative effects that cancer medications have on children’s hearts.
“The guidelines are a major advance for the cardio-oncology field as there was no defined approach for surveillance or follow up of paediatric patients during treatment prior to this,” she said, noting that new therapeutics had early heart complications like high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and heart failure.
The Australian and New Zealand expert panel conducted a Delphi consensus process across 11 domains of cardio-oncology treatment, with paediatric and adult cardiologists and paediatric oncologists making up the group. The study was approved by the Australian New Zealand Children’s Oncology Group, and its recommendations are helpful for any tertiary institutions treating paediatric cancer patients or starting cardio-oncology clinics. Expert analysis says