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Cardio-Oncology Clinic at Connecticut Children’s

Connecticut Children’s Cardio-Oncology Clinic partners with our Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders and Division of Diabetes & Endocrinology to detect and prevent heart damage in patients who have received certain types of cancer treatments.

What is Cardio-Oncology?

Over half of childhood cancers are successfully treated with cancer therapy that can be toxic to the heart. The growing number of childhood cancer survivors experience long-term cardiovascular complications from cancer therapy, with a higher risk of heart failure. This growing awareness has led to a partnership beyond the borders of oncology and cardiology to bridge the gap between the growing need for more effective cancer therapies and cardiovascular co-morbidities related to previous cancer treatment.

Because cardiovascular complications can appear any time after treatment—even years later—it is important for cancer survivors to keep their heart healthy through regular exercise and by attending regular check-ups and tests. The Cardio-Oncology Clinic monitors cancer survivors who have been exposed to cancer therapy that can be toxic to the heart. The key to addressing cardiotoxicity is detecting the heart damage before it produces symptoms of heart failure. Treatment given at early stages can halt and even reverse the heart damage and save the child’s life.

Advancing Care Through Research and Innovation

Connecticut Children’s Cardio-Oncology team has developed new tools and created new ways of using existing resources to detect cardiotoxicity early.

  • Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – Our Cardio-oncology team uses many different diagnostic tools, including cardiac MRI technology, which shows how the heart is working in incredible detail. This means that heart damage can be observed much earlier, before it causes problems.
  • Using biomarkers to detect heart damage – Research led by pediatric cardiologist Olga Toro-Salazar, MD focuses on microRNA—noncoding nucleic acids that regulate cell functions. When there is cell damage, the type and quantity of these biomarkers changes. Since they can be measured in blood and other body fluids, using them to detect heart damage is relatively noninvasive. These biomarkers can help detect heart damage early, when treatment will be most effective.
  • Cardio-oncology patient registry – Connecticut Children’s created a Cardio-Oncology registry to document the diagnosis, treatment, clinical course and outcomes of patients exposed to cardiotoxic medications.

Our Cardio-Oncology Team

Our team is comprised of cardiologists, oncologists and endocrinologists work together to implement standardized heart care strategies for childhood cancer survivors.





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