The injured heart: early cardiac effects of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children and young adults

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We hypothesized that subclinical cardiac injury in the peri-transplant period is more frequent than currently appreciated in children and young adults. We performed echocardiographic screening on 227 consecutive patients prior to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), and 7, 30 and 100 days after transplant. We measured cardiac biomarkers cardiac troponin-I (cTn-I), and soluble suppressor of tumorigenicity 2 (sST2) prior to transplant, during conditioning, and days +7, +14, +28 and +49 in 26 patients. We subsequently analyzed levels of cTn-I every 48-72 h in 15 consecutive children during conditioning. Thirty-two percent (73/227) of patients had a new abnormality on echocardiogram. New left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) occurred in 6.2% of subjects and new pericardial effusion in 27.3%. Eight of 227 (3.5%) patients underwent pericardial drain placement, and 5 (2.2%) received medical therapy for clinically occult LVSD. cTn-I was elevated in 53.0% of all samples and sST2 in 38.2%. At least one sample had a detectable cTn-I in 84.6% of patients and an elevated sST2 in 76.9%. Thirteen of fifteen patients monitored frequently during condition had elevation of cTn-I. Echocardiographic and biochemical abnormalities are frequent in the peri-HSCT period. Echocardiogram does not detect all subclinical cardiac injuries that may become clinically relevant over longer periods.

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