Detection of Early Anthracycline Cardiotoxicity by Monitoring the Peak Filling Rate

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Three patients developed clinical congestive heart failure after cumulative doxorubicin doses of 264, 440, and 450 mg/m2, respectively, despite serial monitoring of systolic cardiac function by resting gated radionuclide scanning. All three patients had depressed diastolic function, as shown by a decreased peak filling rate preceding a change in systolic function, which was assessed by left ventricular ejection fraction prior to the development of clinical congestive heart failure. We recommend serial monitoring of the peak filling rate, in addition to left ventricular ejection fraction. If broader experience confirms our impression that the peak filling rate is more sensitive than the current standard assessment of left ventricular ejection fraction, new guidelines may need to be drawn to monitor cardiotoxicity of anthracyclines and anthraquinones.

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