Radiation-induced heart disease (RIHD) is becoming an increasing concern for patients and clinicians alike as the use of radiation therapy for the treatment of certain malignancies increases, and patient mortality secondary to neoplasms of the thorax, in particular Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer, decreases. The spectrum of pathology affecting the heart spans from acute to chronic and can affect almost all facets of the heart, including but not restricted to the pericardial sac, coronary arteries, myocardium, and heart valves. Significant research has been conducted over the past 40 years to further understand the toxic effects of radiation therapy and those protective methods that could curtail these adverse reactions. This article will focus on RIHD, the pathophysiological mechanisms for RIHD, the clinical presentations, and current and future directions for attempting to reduce the incidence of this condition.
- coronary vessel disease
- radiation-induced heart disease