Critical Illness and Cardiac Dysfunction in Anthracycline-Exposed Pediatric Oncology Patients

Katie K. Wolfe, Jennifer Reichek, Lauren E. Marsillio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine if the presence of cardiac dysfunction in anthracycline-exposed pediatric oncology patients is associated with an increased frequency of PICU admission or mortality. Design: Retrospective parallel cohort study. Setting: PICU at an academic freestanding children's hospital. Subjects: Children with oncologic diagnoses who received anthracyclines between January 2006 and December 2014 and were admitted to the hospital within 1 year of completion of therapy. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: Charts of 734 patients were reviewed and 545 were included in analysis. Anthracycline-exposed pediatric oncology patients with cardiac dysfunction were more likely to be admitted to the PICU than those without cardiac dysfunction (87% vs 37% rate of PICU admission). PICU admission was also associated with identified infection and higher cumulative anthracycline dose. Once admitted to the PICU, those anthracycline-exposed patients with cardiac dysfunction had significantly higher mortality (26% vs 6%) and longer length of stay (7 vs 2 d) than children without cardiac dysfunction. Patients with cardiac dysfunction were more likely to require mechanical ventilation (59% vs 18%), required more vasoactive medications for longer, and were more likely to develop fluid overload. Death within 1 year of ICU admission was associated with higher cumulative anthracycline dose. Conclusions: Children with cancer who received anthracyclines, especially at higher doses, and who develop cardiac dysfunction are at higher risk of critical illness, have higher rates of multiple organ dysfunction and higher rates of mortality than anthracycline-exposed patients without cardiac dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-602
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • anthracycline
  • cardiac dysfunction
  • intensive care unit
  • oncology
  • pediatric


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