ACC Council Analyzes Effect of Cardio-Oncology Services on Patient Care

While the impact of cancer treatments on cardiovascular health is an important consideration when treating cancer patients, only 35 percent of centers in a nationwide survey included cardio-oncology services managed by general cardiology, according to a Council Perspective published June 22 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The nationwide survey of cardiology division chiefs and cardiovascular fellowship program training directors, conducted by the ACC's Early Career Section, evaluated the current state of cardio-oncology services, practices and opinions. Of the 106 respondents, 65 percent thought that access to consultants with specialized training would provide an advantage in caring for cancer patients suffering from cardiovascular complications. However, only 27 percent of centers had an established, specialized cardio-oncology service with multiple clinicians. Further, 12 percent had no cardio-oncology services but did plan to add them within a year.

In terms of formal training, 44 percent of programs state their reason for limited or no training was due to a lack of national guidelines in cardio-oncology and a lack of funding.

"Despite the common belief that cancer patients with treatment-related cardiovascular issues would greatly benefit from a specialized team devoted to the cardio-oncology field, and a significant number of cancer patients experiencing treatment-related cardiovascular issues, we are lacking the proper resources to care for these patients," said Ana Barac, MD, PhD, FACC, lead author of the study and director of the cardio-oncology program at MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute in Washington, DC. "A newly formed ACC Member Section dedicated to filling this gap will give physicians in the field a forum to discuss best practices and work together to develop methods for training more physicians in providing the best possible care for these unique patients."

The upcoming ACC Cardio-Oncology Member Section aims to fill the gaps in resources for clinicians and allow specialists to share best practices, develop educational tools and practice standards, design training programs and advocate for the specialty.

Clinical Topics: Cardio-Oncology

Keywords: Consultants, Data Collection, Neoplasms, Patient Care, Physicians, Specialization, Cardiotoxicity

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