At Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, we have a team of cardiologists who are specially trained to care for patients who have cancer and heart disease or whose treatment may increase their risk for cardiovascular conditions. With our extensive training and advanced technology, along with our close relationship with Miami Cancer Institute, we ensure patients can safely complete their cancer treatment, while taking care of any heart problems along the way.
Who benefits from cardio-oncology care?
Our team cares for cancer patients who may have a history of cardiovascular disease or risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. Additionally, some cancer treatments, especially those for breast cancer are cardiotoxic, which means they can worsen existing heart problems or cause heart problems in patients without heart disease. Our team works closely with Miami Cancer Institute oncologists to identify when a patient may need a referral to our specialists for preventative care and treatment.
What is the process like for a new cardio-oncology patient?
If your oncologist believes your cancer treatment will put you at risk for developing cardiovascular side effects, you will be referred to the cardio-oncology program for baseline imaging of your heart. This allows us to see the current health of your heart and better understand your risk factors for heart disease.
High risk patients will be screened for conditions related to heart disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. If needed, we will help make sure these conditions are treated and under control while you receive cancer care.
If our tests show you are at risk for developing heart problems, we will work with you throughout your treatment, taking images of your heart regularly to check for any side effects and adjusting medicines as needed.
How do you diagnose cancer-related cardiac conditions?
Our team uses advanced echocardiograms that measure how your heart muscle contracts to check your heart health. We also use echocardiograms to create 3D models of your heart to see how well your heart pumps blood.
Which cardio-oncology treatments are available at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute?
If our team determines that you have developed heart problems from cancer treatment, we will work closely with your oncologist on your treatment plan. If needed, you may need to adjust or stop chemotherapy treatment until we can resolve the heart problem.
How we treat your heart problem will depend on your diagnosis and overall health. In some cases, we may need to adjust or add heart medicines that will help prevent your condition from getting worse. In more serious situations, we may do advanced testing to evaluate the arteries of your heart to make sure that blood is flowing freely or ask that your chemotherapy adjusted.
If you or a loved one comes to Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute for cardio-oncology services, you can expect:
- A team of cardiologists who are specially trained to identify risks and treat cardiac problems in cancer patients.
- Seamless collaboration between our cardiologists and your cancer care team at Miami Cancer Institute.
- Compassionate care from a team whose goal is for you to successfully complete cancer treatment and live a full and healthy life.
If you are referred to us for cardiac imaging and assessment during cancer treatment, it doesn’t always mean you need heart treatment or frequent screenings. If we determine that you are at low risk for developing a heart problem, we will refer you to our diagnostic imaging center for occasional screenings to make sure your heart still looks healthy. As long as we don’t notice any problems or changes on your imaging, you won’t need to come in for special treatment.
Your cardio-oncology team will continue to follow up with you even after you finish cancer treatment. This may include continuing regular appointments months or years after completing treatment. During these follow-up appointments, we will use imaging to screen for any new heart problems and address any issues with treatment, if necessary.
Ultimately, our goal is to make sure you can stay on your cancer treatment plan and complete chemotherapy. However, some patients may need to stop chemotherapy while we work on getting the heart problem under control. If this happens, we will work closely with your oncologist to coordinate treatment changes so you can get the best therapy in the safest way possible.