Q&A: Cardio-oncology

Can you please explain what cardio-oncology is?
Cardio-oncology focuses on assessing the cardiovascular health of patients with cancer before treatment to optimize the management of pre-existing cardiac diseases and ultimately, decrease cardiovascular complications during and after cancer therapy. Northside Hospital in collaboration with the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute and the Northside Hospital Heart Institute established a cardio-oncology program this year. The establishment of this program is a keystone step in achieving the overall goal of an integrated and comprehensive care model involving a multidisciplinary team of providers, which is necessary to achieve better outcomes for our patients and survivors. 

What are some of the common cardiovascular side effects related to current cancer therapies?
Cardiovascular complications of cancer therapy may include but are not limited to myocardial dysfunction/ heart failure, coronary artery disease, valvular disease and arrhythmias. Certain arrhythmias can be drug-induced, which may cause electrocardiogram abnormalities like QT-prolongation, fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion) and elevated blood pressure.

Do certain treatment therapies or medications put a survivor more at risk for cardiovascular side effects?
One-third of cancer survivors die from cardiovascular disease as per the survivorship data. Survivors who have received a special group of cancer drugs like anthracycline and/or radiotherapy should be engaged in a cardiovascular protective surveillance program, but in reality, every cancer survivor should be engaged in this type of program. 

How can survivors optimize their cardiac health?
By being proactive and engaging in cardiovascular risk reduction strategies, such as maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise and managing stress. Additionally, survivors should work with their primary care providers, oncologists and cardio-oncologists to optimize their cardiac health. 



Media Inquiries

Northside Hospital's media relations staff look forward to assisting you with news stories whenever possible. We promise to try and meet all of your story needs.
Media Contacts

Featured Provider

Dr. Lalitha C. Medepalli picture

Dr. Lalitha C. Medepalli

Specialties: Cardiology, Noninvasive Cardiology

View Profile

Dr. Lalitha C. Medepalli brings 20 years of experience to her practice, with clinical interests that include noninvasive cardiology, women’s heart health and cardio-oncology. An active member of the local community, she promotes women’s heart health awareness and the early detection and treatment of heart disease through a combination of speaking engagements and editorial content.

Dr. Medepalli is the first physician in the Atlanta region and just the second in Georgia to receive board certification in cardio-oncology from the International Cardio-Oncology Society.

Need Help Finding a Provider?
Take advantage of Northside Hospital's free physician referral service. Available weekdays , 8a.m. - 4p.m. EST. 404-845-5555