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Lymphoma Survivors Have Higher Risk of Suffering from Heart Damage in a Recent Study

Dr. Klaus Murbraech, MD, from the Department of Cardiology at Oslo University Hospital in Norway and colleagues have reported that lymphoma patients that received autologous stem cell transplant during adulthood are six to seven times at risk for left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) and heart failure. This study was recently published in Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Klaus Murbraech and team conducted this study with the aim of determining the prevalence of symptomatic and asymptomatic LVSD in adult lymphoma survivors after stem cell transplant. Their study also focused on identifying risk factors for LVSD in this group of survivors. Dr. Klaus Murbraech and team carried out their study on lymphoma survivors who were treated with autologous stem cell transplant during adulthood in Norway from 1987 to 2008. Questionnaires were given to them and they were subjected to complete medical examination including exercise capacity testing and echocardiography. Their treatment details were obtained from lymphoma registry at Oslo University Hospital and past medical records.

Dr. Klaus Murbraech and team, established that LVSD is defined as having a left ventricular ejection fraction less than 50% through echocardiography. They used the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association criteria to define heart failure. Their analysis was based on 274 lymphoma survivors and only 69% of them were eligible for the study. 62% of those eligible for the study were men with the mean age of 56 ± 12 years and 78% of these men had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. These patients were monitored with a mean follow-up time of 13 ± 6 years. This study group was given a mean doxorubicin dose of 316 ± 111 mg/m2 and 35% of them given cardiac radiation therapy.

The result of this study revealed that 15.7% of the study group had LVSD. 5.1% of those that developed LVSD were asymptomatic. 10.6% of the study group had heart failure and 8.8% of them were classified as New York Heart Association class II. 1.8% of the study group developed even more severe heart failure classified as New York Heart Association class IV. All of these patients had received cardiac radiation therapy and anthracyclines. Further details on the study result can be found here. Dr. Klaus Murbraech emphasized the need to increase awareness in both clinicians and patients regarding increased risk of LVSD and heart failure in lymphoma survivors, even after years of treatment.

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