Heart disease risk for stem cell transplant survivors

Heart disease risk for stem cell transplant survivors

People who have undergone stem cell transplants may be at a greater risk of developing heart disease, according to a new study published by the American Society of Haematology.

A team led by Dr Saro Armenian examined the medical records of 1,885 patients who received hematopoietic cell transplants (HCT) for blood cancer at the same hospital between 1995 and 2004.

The research took into account factors including pre-transplant exposure to chemotherapy, the type of HCT and post-transplant treatment.

It was discovered that HCT patients were significantly more likely to develop problems including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol that could lead to heart disease than the general population, especially if the stem cells came from a donor rather than the person's own body.

"The results of this study demonstrate the importance of intervention strategies that can help mitigate these modifiable heart disease risk factors in transplant recipients before and after transplant," concluded Dr Armenian.

According to the British Heart Foundation, approximately a third of all deaths in the UK in 2009 were caused by cardiovascular disease, 82,000 of which occurred because of coronary heart disease.

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