New risk score may predict heart failure in people with blood cancer

Patients with blood cancer who are treated with standard chemotherapy are at an increased risk of heart failure, according to a study published in JACC: CardioOncology.

Researchers analyzed data from 450 patients with two different types of blood cancer. Then, they developed a risk score based on six clinically relevant variables and a measure of strain on the heart muscles calculated by echocardiography.

One of clinical measures was a cumulative anthracycline dose, which has been shown to be toxic when high doses are administered in a short amount of time. The risk score ranged from 0 to 21, and patients were then split into three subgroups based on their risk scores. Of the 450 patients, 318 classified as low risk (a score of 0 to 6), 112 as moderate (7 to 13), and 20 as high risk (14 to 21) for heart failure.

Sixty-five percent of patients classified as high risk developed heart failure, while only 1% of low risk patients did. Additional research is needed to determine how effective the scoring system is in clinical practice. The study was funded by NHLBI.