Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Cardiac MRI for the assessment of early chemotherapeutic cardiac injury and toxicity


Chemotherapeutically induced myocardial injury continues to pose a major problem. The exact mechanism of drug-related cardiomyopathy (DRC) is still poorly understood. An early diagnosis of cardiotoxicity and the ability to predict patients at risk are important for preventing chronic heart failure. The guidelines for non-invasive cardiac imaging to screen for DRC show limitations in early identification of patients at risk, currently relying on left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF) for establishing high risk. Contrast enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (ce-CMR) may offer a stronger screening approach, especially since it can assess the right ventricle (RV) and detect early changes in response to chemotherapy.


51 patients (31 men, 20 women) with various types of cancer, who underwent chemotherapy with a variety of regimens, were assessed with ce-CMR within 6 months of chemotherapy. Ce-CMR results for both RV and LV were compared with published data (Hudsmith et al., JACC, 2005) using the 1-sample Student t test. A p value <0.05 was considered significant. Descriptive statistics are described as percentages.


In patients, EF was lower in both ventricles: RVEF=54.8% and LVEF= 53.6% vs. controls: RVEF=61% and LVEF= 69%, (p=0.002, p<0.001, respectively). Right and left stroke volumes (SV) were also lower: RVSV= 69.1 mL, LVSV= 76.3 mL, vs. controls: RVSV and LVSV=104 mL (p≤ 0.001). Both ventricles demonstrated decreased end diastolic volumes (EDV): RVEDV=132.8 ml, LVEDV=144.4 ml, vs. controls: RVEDV =173 ml and LVEDV=150ml, though only statistically significant in the RV (p<0.001). An elevated end systolic volume (ESV) was also noted: RVESV=70.1 mL, LVESV=67.4 mL vs. controls: RVESV=69 ml and LVESV=47 ml, though only statistically significant in the LV (p<0.001).

Interestingly, with respect to wall motion abnormalities, 4 (8%) patients demonstrated segmental abnormalities in the RV. In the LV, 15 patients (29%) demonstrated wall motion abnormalities, involving multiple segments (13/15 at the base, 13/15 at mid level, and 14/15 in the apex). Only 1 (2%) patient demonstrated delayed enhancement (DE) in the RV, while 10 patients (20%) demonstrated DE in the LV, also involving multiple segments: 10/10 in the basal LV, 8/10 in the mid LV, and 7/10 in the apex.


Decreased RVEF, LVEF and ventricular volumes, as well as wall motion abnormalities and presence of DE regions in non-coronary pattern of distribution, may represent early changes secondary to chemotherapy. Earlier detection of DRC may allow for earlier initiation of treatment, and prevent progression of heart failure.



Figure 1
figure 1

Delayed enhancement involving the left ventricle in a 61 year old male with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Franklin, B., Fernandes, V. Cardiac MRI for the assessment of early chemotherapeutic cardiac injury and toxicity. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 17 (Suppl 1), P370 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: