JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Chemotherapy and QT Prolongation: Overview With Clinical Perspective.

OPINION STATEMENT: Cardiotoxic adverse events are of concern to physicians treating cancer patients; they are encountered with a variety of agents. Cardiac events may delay the approval of new drugs or impose burdensome monitoring requirements as either part of the pre-approval process or in the daily use of these agents. Among the cardiac issues are the development of QT prolongation and the fear of torsades de pointes (TdP), an unusual yet potentially fatal form of ventricular tachycardia associated with QT prolongation. Several risk factors, including electrolyte imbalance and polypharmacy with concomitant QT prolonging agents use can increase the risk of TdP in cancer patients; separating the individual contributions of the various triggers for TdP remains problematic. Understanding the individual risk of QT prolongation associated with particular chemotherapies can better differentiate between those shown to have higher risk vs. those with lower risk potential. Cardiac monitoring and electrocardiogram analysis require recognition of the common challenges with regard to the precise measurement of the QT interval such as the presence of U waves, intraventricular conduction delays, and heart rate correction. Rapid identification and treatment of QT prolongation and TdP is critical in mitigating the risk of sudden cardiac death in cancer patients. A multidisciplinary treatment approach among cardiologists and oncologists should be employed to help facilitate an appropriate balance between oncologic efficacy and adverse cardiac events.

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