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N Engl J Med. 1979 Feb 8;300(6):278-83.

Serial assessment of doxorubicin cardiotoxicity with quantitative radionuclide angiocardiography.


We measured cardiac performance sequentially, using quantitative radionuclide angiocardiography to estimate left ventricular ejection fraction in 55 patients receiving doxorubicin for treatment of cancer. With final doxorubicin dosages greater than 350 mg per square meter, the lowest ejection fraction measured was significantly less than the initial determination. Five patients had severe cardiotoxicity (congestive heart failure). All had an ejection fraction of less than 30 per cent at the time of heart failure, and demonstrated moderate cardiotoxicity (a decline in ejection fraction by at least 15 per cent to a final value of less than 45 per cent) before clinical manifestations. Six patients with moderate toxicity in whom doxorubicin was discontinued did not have heart failure or a further decline in ejection fraction during the follow-up period. Moderate toxicity was continued, but mild toxicity (decline of ejection fraction by greater than 10 per cent, noted in 11 patients) was not well predicted. The assessment of radionuclide left ventricular ejection fraction during doxorubicin therapy may make it possible to avoid congestive heart failure.

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