Heart failure following cancer treatment: characteristics, survival and mortality of a linked health data analysis

R. A. Clark, N. M. Berry, M. H. Chowdhury, A. L. McCarthy, S. Ullah, V. L. Versace, J. J. Atherton, B. Koczwara, D. Roder

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Background: Cardiotoxicity resulting in heart failure is a devastating complication of cancer therapy. A patient may survive cancer only to develop heart failure (HF), which has a higher mortality rate than some cancers.

Aim: This study aimed to describe the characteristics and outcomes of HF in patients with blood or breast cancer after chemotherapy treatment.

Methods: Queensland Cancer Registry, Death Registry and Hospital Administration records were linked (1996–2009). Patients were categorised as those with an index HF admission (that occurred after cancer diagnosis) and those without an index HF admission (non-HF).

Results: A total of 15 987 patients was included, and 1062 (6.6%) had an index HF admission. Median age of HF patients was 67 years (interquartile range 58–75) versus 54 years (interquartile range 44–64) for non-HF patients. More men than women developed HF (48.6% vs 29.5%), and a greater proportion in the HF group had haematological cancer (83.1%) compared with breast cancer (16.9%). After covariate adjustment, HF patients had increased mortality risk compared with non-HF patients (hazard ratios 1.67 (95% confidence interval, 1.54–1.81)), and 47% of the index HF admission occurred within 1 year from cancer diagnosis and 70% within 3 years.

Conclusion: Cancer treatment may place patients at a greater risk of developing HF. The onset of HF occurred soon after chemotherapy, and those who developed HF had a greater mortality risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297–1306
Number of pages10
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number11
Early online date3 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • Cardiotoxicity
  • heart failure
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cardiology
  • oncology

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