Elmhurst Hospital opens Cardio-Oncology program

March 09, 2016

Elmhurst Hospital has announced the opening of a Cardio-Oncology program to monitor and, if necessary, treat heart complications caused by cancer treatments. The program’s offices are located in the Nancy W. Knowles Cancer Center, on the campus of Elmhurst Hospital, 177 E. Brush Hill Rd.

“Our priority is to treat a patient’s cancer, but in the course of that care, chemotherapy and radiation may affect a person’s heart,” says Alexander Hantel, MD, System Director, Oncology Services, Edward-Elmhurst Health. “It’s critical we monitor every aspect of a patient’s program, so we can make appropriate adjustments in care, medication levels and limit or prevent side effects, while effectively treating the cancer.

”Dr. Hantel and Jeffrey Shanes, MD, a specialist in cardiovascular disease with Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group, lead the Cardio-Oncology team at Elmhurst Hospital.

At Edward Hospital, Maria Rosa Costanzo, MD, Medical Director of the Edward Hospital Center for Advanced Heart Failure and cardiologist with the Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group, and Samir Undevia, MD, a medical oncologist with the Edward Cancer Center and Edward Hematology Oncology Group, developed and lead the Cardio-Oncology program.

Edward-Elmhurst’s Cardio-Oncology program focuses on a patient’s care from the very outset of their cancer treatment. Oncologists and cardiologists work together, using a variety of technology and tests to predict the toxic effect of cancer drugs on the heart, which leads to early detection and treatment of patients at risk.

The resources available to the Cardio-Oncology teams include:
  • Risk assessment tools to determine if a patient is at risk of damaging heart muscle
  • Anti-neurohormonal medications to diminish or prevent the decline of cardiac function
  • Echocardiogram with strain test (if a patient is prescribed certain drugs), which is read by physicians specially trained in this field
  • Chest X-ray, EKG and consultation with a cardiologist, if necessary

The Cardio-Oncology program is another example of Edward-Elmhurst’s multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, in which medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, along with other specialists, like cardiologists, collaborate to develop treatment plans that incorporate a combination of advanced cancer therapies tailored specifically for each patient and his/her needs.

For more information about the Cardio-Oncology program, call (331) 221-2060 (Elmhurst) or (630) 527-3788 (Edward), or visit www.eehealth.org/services/cancer/treatments/cardio-oncology.