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Cardio-Oncology That Heals the Whole You

We’re here to help you take control of your health as we protect your heart and fight your cancer. A tailored treatment plan and designated care coordinator provide the personalized care you deserve.

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Patient Guide to Cardiac Tests and Screenings

While new therapies are helping cancer patients live longer or achieve remission, some treatments could affect heart function temporarily and, in some cases, have long-term effects. Your oncologist may order several of these tests to check your heart health before, during and after cancer therapy.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) 
Certain cancer treatments change how electrical activity travels through your heart. You may need an ECG — which takes a picture of your heart’s electrical activity —before chemotherapy and during the course of treatment.

Some cancer treatments can lower your ejection fraction — the ability of the left ventricle to pump blood — leading to an increased risk of heart failure. If you have had chemotherapy or radiation in the area of the heart, you may receive several tests to monitor the ejection fraction during treatment or for several years after treatment (or both). These may include: 

3D Echocardiogram with Strain Imaging 
This is a newer and more sensitive ultrasound test that allows for a three-dimensional view of the moving heart and early detection of damage to the heart before it leads to a decline in the heart’s ability to pump. This noninvasive test uses a transducer that is placed on your left chest and abdomen as you lie on your left side. It lasts approximately 45 – 60 minutes and is performed by specially trained ultrasound technologists. There are instances when you will need an intravenous (IV) line to allow the use of a medication called Definity® that enhances the ultrasound pictures. A cardiologist will interpret the results and generate a report that is then sent to your oncologist. 

Cardiac MRI 
This detailed test is usually requested when there are concerns about the structure of the heart or there is an inability to obtain adequate pictures by echocardiogram. It employs a non-radiating contrast and requires you to lie on a moving table that slides you through a magnetic field.

An echocardiogram — also called an “echo” — is a type of ultrasound test that sends sound waves through the chest wall to your heart. The sound waves bounce off the heart and are turned into moving pictures that can be seen on a video screen. The pictures can be used to assess potential harmful effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy on the heart. 

Multigated Acquisition (MUGA) 
The MUGA test involves introducing a radioactive solution through an IV line and then taking an X-ray. It calculates the ability of the heart’s main chamber to pump. The test duration is approximately 30 – 45 minutes.

Other types of cardiac tests that are sometimes needed to diagnose the health of your heart include: 

  • Ambulatory ECG 
  • Cardiac catheterization 
  • Exercise test 
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Contact Your Support Team

Janet facilitates an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to care for cardio-oncology patients, including those undergoing chemo treatments with the goal of prevention of potential heart conditions caused by life-saving chemotherapeutic agents. Janet is a loyal source of support and guidance for both oncology patients and families. If you have questions or would like help making appointments, reach out to our care coordinator at 407-303-9241 or