Damage to the heart muscle by a toxin is called cardiac toxicity. Cardiac toxicity may cause arrhythmias (changes in heart rhythm) or it can develop into heart failure. Chemotherapy drugs are toxins and can cause damage to your heart, which may be referred to as cardiac toxicity. The most well-known cause of cardiac toxicity is the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin®). Cardiac toxicity is diagnosed with several examinations and tests: Heart sounds, Chest X-ray, Electrocardiogram (ECG), Echocardiogram, Multi Gated Acquisition (MUGA) scan.
Heart problems may be prevented by altering the amount of drug administered (dose), method of administration and type of anthracycline.