Recent Blog Articles
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Opioid addiction and overdoses are increasingly harming Black communities
New Harvard tool helps fact-check cancer claims
Hand pain from arthritis? This may help
Polio: What parents need to know now
Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression: When and where is it safe?
Have lupus? What to know about birth control
Screening at home for memory loss: Should you try it?
Travel tummy troubles: Here’s how to prevent or soothe them
Easy, delicious summer veggie meals will help stretch your food budget
Some lifesaving cancer therapies can harm the heart and arteries (Harvard Heart Letter, March 2010). Trastuzumab (Herceptin), a drug used to treat one type of breast cancer, has improved survival for women, but it can also weaken the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber.
One study suggests that the problem may be more common than researchers had initially suspected, especially among older women. A team of researchers from Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, reviewed the medical records of 45 women ages 70 and older who were treated with trastuzumab. Four developed heart failure, and another eight had declines in a measure called left ventricular ejection fraction, indicating a problem in the left ventricle. Eleven of the women recovered after stopping trastuzumab, though recovery sometimes took as long as 21 weeks. In one woman, heart failure persisted (Annals of Oncology, published online Aug. 9, 2011).
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!