WASHINGTON (Aug. 14, 2017) -- Patients newly diagnosed with cancer may have a substantially increased short-term risk of arterial thromboembolism, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Patients with cancer face an increased risk of medical complications. However, the risk of arterial thromboembolism -- or the blockage of blood flow due to a clot that has come from another part of the body -- in patients with cancer is not well understood.
Researchers found that patients newly diagnosed with cancer faced a considerably increased short-term risk of arterial thromboembolism. Within six months of diagnosis, more than twice as many patients with cancer had experienced arterial thromboembolism as compared with matched control patients without cancer. The risks of both heart attack and ischemic stroke were also increased in patients with cancer. The risk of arterial thromboembolism varied by cancer type, with lung, gastric and pancreatic cancers conferring the highest risk. Additionally, advanced cancer stage was associated with increased risk, directly relating arterial thromboembolism to overall tumor burden and extent of disease.
According to the authors, these findings raise the question of whether patients with newly diagnosed malignant cancer, particularly those with advanced disease, should be considered for antithrombotic and statin medicines for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. They stress that because patients with cancer are also prone to bleeding due to frequent coagulopathy and invasive procedures, carefully designed clinical trials are needed to answer these questions.
The American College of Cardiology is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more, visit acc.org.
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology ranks among the top cardiovascular journals in the world for its scientific impact. JACC is the flagship for a family of journals -- JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, JACC: Heart Failure, JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology and JACC: Basic to Translational Science -- that prides themselves in publishing the top peer-reviewed research on all aspects of cardiovascular disease. Learn more at JACC.org.