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heart murmur and chemotherapy
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heart murmur and chemotherapy

  I am a 37-year-old woman and have been undergoing chemotherapy (taxol and carboplatin) for ovarian cancer since August of this year.  About a month ago I developed chronic symptoms of chest tightness and shortness of breath; I saw both a pulmonary specialist and a cardiologist who felt certain that these symptoms were anxiety-related (chest X-ray, cardiogram, etc. were all completely normal).  In the process, the cardiologist detected a slight (grade 2) heart murmur (never diagnosed before), which he said could be related to the chemo and might disappear when my treatments are over.  He suggested an echocardiogram if I want to pursue the matter further.  Have you ever heard of these chemotherapy agents causing heart murmur? How does it happen? Should I worry about it?  It seems like every other person I know has been told they have a heart murmur.
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Dear Theresa
I am not aware of these chemotherapy agents causing heart valve problems. I would not worry about that possibility. Regarding the slight murmur you have, an echocardiogram would definitively answer what is causing the murmur and whether it is something that needs to be followed in the future. You may want to wait until you are over the ovarian cancer before expending energy on any further cardiac testing, but if the murmur is really worrying you, then you could opt to have the echo now.
I hope this has been useful. Feel free to write back with further questions. Good luck.
Information provided here is of a general nature.  Specific diagnoses and treatments can only be made by your doctor.  If you would like to be seen at the Cleveland Clinic, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE for an appointment with a cardiologist at Desk F15.





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