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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.

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.


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.


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.

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