Causes and Diagnosis

Causes of Radiation-Associated Heart Disease

Radiation to the chest can cause radiation-associated heart disease. Radiation treatment is given to destroy rapidly reproducing cancer cells. However, radiation also damages nearby normal cells.

Your risk of getting radiation-associated heart disease depends on:

  • How much radiation you get during treatment
  • How much of the chest and heart were exposed to radiation

Diagnosis and Testing for Radiation-Associated Heart Disease

If your care team believes you may have radiation-associated heart disease, they will do a physical exam. They will listen to your heart and check your blood pressure.

The specific tests ordered will depend on your symptoms. Your care team may order:

Meet the Team

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.
Meet the Team
Downtown Chicago