Cancer treatments have progressed to the point where most kids with the disease survive – but some lifesaving cancer treatments can increase the risk of heart problems later in life. Atrium Health Levine Children’s is home to one of the region's only pediatric cardio-oncology teams. These specialized experts understand how cancer therapies affect the heart and do everything they can to keep kids’ hearts healthy before, during and after treatment.

Make an appointment

To learn more about cardio-oncology care at Levine Children’s, contact us 704-373-1813.

About cardio-oncology

While chemotherapy and radiation can give your child the best chance of beating cancer, they may also take a toll on your child’s heart. Common heart problems related to cancer treatment include cardiomyopathy (diseased heart muscle) and heart failure (when the heart isn’t strong enough to pump blood through the body).

Our cardio-oncology team is specially trained in how to prevent, predict and treat heart problems that result from cancer therapy. They’re an important part of the cancer care team, monitoring your child’s heart throughout treatment and working closely with oncologists to prevent heart problems.

Monitoring

Our specially-trained cardiologists work hand in hand with our pediatric cancer and blood disorder doctors to create a custom care plan that minimizes the risk of heart damage. We help prevent heart disease by using:

  • Diet and exercise: Conditions like high blood pressure and obesity make children more likely to develop heart problems from cancer treatments. Our nutritionists can work with your family to help your child maintain a balanced diet and reduce their risk of heart problems.
  • Echocardiograms: We use the latest technology to ensure your child’s heart is pumping correctly, and we closely watch for any signs of problems.
  • Imaging tools: Our experts also use CT scans and MRIs to take pictures of your child’s heart to pinpoint any signs of problems.

Treatments

If your child is experiencing heart problems as a result of cancer therapy, we use treatments like:

  • Medications: Some medicines (usually pills) can help the heart beat stronger or with a more regular rhythm.
  • Ventricular assist devices (VADs): A VAD is a small machine that doctors place at the bottom of your child’s heart to help it pump blood. We’re home to some of the region’s leading VAD care, helping everyone from babies to teenagers live well with these devices. We’re also among a handful of hospitals that offer one of the smallest, most advanced VADs available. Doctors can install this VAD through an artery to improve heart function without open-heart surgery.
  • Heart transplant: In rare cases, if a child is experiencing severe heart problems, a transplant may be their best option. We’re the only hospital in our region with specialized expertise in pediatric heart transplants. Our team makes this procedure as easy as possible on your child and family – for example using extensive testing to make sure the new heart will work well for your child.

Supportive services

  • Housing accommodations. Offering accommodations at the Ronald McDonald House and discounted rooms at local hotels so families who live hours from Charlotte can stay nearby during their child’s treatment.

  • Survivorship clinic. Monitoring your child as they grow to ensure cancer treatments don’t take a toll on their heart and other aspects of their health later in life.

  • Child life specialists. Who help kids prepare for medical procedures, explain treatments to families, and guide children through recovery with games and play.

  • Nurse navigators. These nurses support and build close relationships with each patient and family. They become experts on each child’s condition and medical history, teach parents at-home care, attend appointments to answer questions and discuss treatments, and more.

  • Nutritionists. Our nutritionists make sure kids get all the nutrients they need to stay strong.

  • Pastoral care. Our chaplains offer religious and spiritual support when families request a visit.

  • Social workers. Who help families deal with all aspects of their child’s heart condition, from finding resources like support groups to seeking financial assistance for treatment.

Why choose Levine Children's?

  • Part of a world-class heart program. All Levine Children’s heart specialists and surgeons are part of Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute – home to world-renowned specialists in pediatric and adult heart care.

  • Proactive approach. Our team uses advanced tools to study your child’s heart before, during and after treatment to look for any signs of heart problems. If they see warning signs, they’ll work with your child’s oncologist to change their treatment plan. This approach enables us to prevent many heart problems instead of treating them once they happen.

  • Highly specialized doctors. Cardio-oncology is a new field of medicine and Levine Children’s is one of the few places in our region with these specialized doctors on our team. Our team has guided many kids through cancer treatment and will use their expertise to keep your child’s heart as healthy as possible.

  • Lifelong care. We give our patients comprehensive care for life – from monitoring your child to keep their brain development and learning on track to supporting them for years to come.

The HEARTest Yard Congenital Heart Center

1001 Blythe Blvd., Suite 500
Charlotte, NC 28203

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