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Heart Attack and Chemo


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My dad had a mild heart attack last week. The doctor said that he could not perform tests to assess the damage as they are invasive and would be prevented from doing so on account of the chemo. They will not be able to give him blood thinners.

My dad is scheduled for chemo tomorrow, although we do not know if he will acctually have it. Has any one had any experience with heart attacks and chemo? What should I be asking the oncologist? What should I be concerned about?

I am also worried that the cancer may have advanced to his heart. DOes anyone know if there are signs of this type of progression?


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Hello Lynn, So sorry to hear about your dad. Scary situation. I did have mets to the pericardium from my left lung. My heart would start thumping really hard sometimes. I knew the Iressa was helping because my heart did not go into the thumping mode anymore. Don't know what the routine treatment is for a heart attack when a person is haveing chemo treatment. If a person has a chemoport the blood thinners may be why they do not want to go into the heart. Maybe someone else can give you some good information. Perhaps your dad should see a heart doc for a second opinion. praying for you all. pammie

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Hi Lynn, Sorry to hear about your father. I took a mild heart attack prior to one of my chemo (see my profile) treatments last year. Ended up in the hospital for several days. Had to have a catheterization procedure. Once it was determined what the problem was, they are treating me with medications and I was able to resume my treatments and have been since then. Hope this helps. Prayers for the best. Rich

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My dad didn't get as far as a heart attack but they caught a major blockage and put in a stent. The heart doc told us that the artery became severely blocked very quickly and that the chemo/radiation may have triggered it or helped it along. No way to know for sure. He was put on Plavix (blood thinner) and told that if he had to go back on chemo they would have to be careful of the blood thinner, possibly even stop it but if it was determined that he would need the chemo and still the blood thinner that it could be done, just closely monitored. I think its different for everyone, just make sure the docs are talking to eachother. Sorry you're going through this and praying for the best for you and your family.


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Certain chemo can cause heart toxicity, but I don't think the ones your dad is taking will cause this problem.

Adriamycin is one.

http://www.oncologychannel.com/chemothe ... cts2.shtml

Lung cancer often causes blood clots which can cause a heart attack. I read that sometimes chemo can cause the clots also

http://www.chemocare.com/managing/fulls ... itype=1875

very interesting article about heart problems and chemo

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... ewsid=8397

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  • 2 weeks later...


My dad had a severe heart attack and quadruple bipass surgery 11 months before his Stage 3B NSCLC was diagnosed. The mass was visible - 2-3cm on the xrays done at the time of his bipass but his doctors missed it. By the time we diagnosed the cancer it had grown to 6 by 8cm. Its been a week into his treatment of daily radiation and chemo of taxol and carboplatin. He also has high blood pressure and diabetes. He's still on his asprin - blood thinner so maybe your dad too can go on this particular drug combo for his chemo. I recall my dad's oncologist saying carbo is given to patients who's hearts are less than healthy.

I hope your dad gets well soon - good luck


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