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UT Southwestern Medical Center's multispecialty Cardio-Oncology Program focuses on the complex cardiovascular needs of cancer patients. Our team investigates how to shield the cardiovascular system from the unwanted side effects of cancer treatment and, when damage does occur, how best to treat cancer survivors’ unique cardiac conditions.

With a top-15 nationally ranked cardiology and heart surgery program, and an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, UT Southwestern is uniquely positioned to offer cancer patients access to one of the most advanced cardio-oncology programs in the country.

Specialized Heart Care for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Expertise and collaboration are vital in treating patients who have both heart disease and cancer. Cardiovascular diseases – whether preexisting conditions or those that develop during cancer treatment – can significantly affect a patient’s health and even lead to death.

UT Southwestern’s cardio-oncology team provides experienced, integrated care that’s informed by the latest research. We collaborate frequently with specialists from other disciplines. Cardiologists, oncologists, hematologists, surgeons, and specially trained advanced practice providers work together to provide high-quality, coordinated care. Our multidisciplinary approach puts our patients first and helps improve patients’ overall outcomes.

For convenience, patients can schedule one appointment, using one phone number, to see their cardiologist and oncologist as well as have blood work and cardiac tests completed. Patients can also book virtual appointments, an important safety measure for people who are at high risk for infection.

We also offer rehabilitation – a critical component of recovery that can prevent future heart disease – through our Oncology Rehabilitation Program.

Conditions We Treat

We see cancer patients before or while they receive treatment that – while beneficial for treating the cancer – might have a negative impact on the heart.

Cancer treatment can cause heart issues, such as:

In cardio-oncology, our goal is to continue effective cancer therapy but prevent the treatment from damaging the heart muscle.

Who needs cardio-oncology services?

Our specialists work with patients at various points throughout their cancer treatment journey. We provide care for:

  • Cancer patients at risk for heart disease or who have heart disease
  • Cancer survivors whose hearts might have been damaged by cancer therapy
  • Childhood cancer survivors whose hearts might have been damaged by cancer therapy when they were younger
  • Patients with preexisting cardiac conditions, such as established coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, or high blood pressure
Preventive care

We also take a preventive approach, working with patients to avoid cardiovascular issues from cancer therapies before they occur. Measures we take include:

  • Optimizing blood pressure
  • Optimizing lipid profiles
  • Evaluating cardio-metabolic risk
  • Evaluating overall health status

Learn more about our Preventive Cardiology program that provides patients with personalized plans to prevent and treat heart diseases.

Meet the Team

Our oncologists and cardiologists work together to meet patients’ needs at each stage in their cancer journey.team

Vlad Zaha, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Zaha is one of only a few onco-cardiologists in the Dallas area. An onco-cardiologist (or cardio-oncologist) is a cardiovascular medicine specialist who treats patients with heart and vascular problems resulting from cancer treatment or from the cancer itself.

Alvin Chandra, M.D.

Dr. Chandra is a cardiologist who has received specialized training in cardio-oncology. His specialties include improving quality of life in patients with heart disease, with a special focus on the cancer patients.

Srilakshmi Vallabhaneni, M.D.

Dr. Vallabhaneni is a cardiologist whose clinical and research interests include cardiac imaging with echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance, as well as cardio-oncology.

Cardio-Oncology Diagnosis, Advanced Imaging, and Treatment

Before a patient receives surgical or medical treatment for cancer, our team performs a thorough evaluation to determine the patient’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease and to create a plan to minimize potential complications.

When a patient has a preexisting cardiac condition, we create a plan to treat the condition before the cancer treatment begins. Our aim is to prevent complications and improve the patient’s heart health so the cancer therapy will be as effective as possible.

Diagnosis

To assess heart health before treatment, we might perform a blood test, which involves using a blood sample to check factors such as cholesterol levels, thyroid hormone levels, inflammatory markers, or cardiac enzyme levels.

Advanced imaging

To monitor patients during treatment, we use advanced imaging studies for early detection of cardiac problems.

Our Echocardiography (Echo) Lab is located within Simmons Cancer Center, offering patients the flexibility and convenience of comprehensive care under one roof. An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the heart.

Additional imaging might include:

Treatment

Patients who have heart valve issues are referred to specialists in our cardiothoracic service. Patients with structural issues such as coronary artery disease are referred to interventional cardiologists. Those who have heart rhythm issues are referred to our electrophysiologists.

After treatment, we monitor patients for potential heart complications with appropriate imaging studies and blood tests.

Clinical Trials

As one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a wide range of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients who have any combination of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Current clinical trials include:

Additional clinical trials are being developed in collaboration with oncology and radiation oncology focused on machine learning assistive prediction modeling. Our goal is to use these models to predict how certain types of radiation can affect the future risk of a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.

Find a Clinical Trial

We have a wide range of clinical trials open to patients with all stages of cancer. Search for opportunities to participate in a cancer study.

StudyFinder

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