Evaluation of baseline cardiac function by echocardiography and its association with nutritional status in pediatric cancer patients at the Indus hospital in Karachi, Pakistan

Document Type



Haematology/Oncology; Radiation Oncology; Paediatrics and Child Health


Introduction: Evidence on conducting baseline echocardiogram before starting chemotherapy in pediatric cancer patients is limited from developing countries where malnutrition and infections are common and which may result in cardiac dysfunction.
Materials and Methods: A prospective, observational study was conducted from October 2016 to May 2017 at The Indus Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, among children 1 to 16 years of age suffering from cancer. Echocardiography was performed before starting chemotherapy. Associations between body mass index and cardiac abnormalities were studied.
Results: A total of 384 children met the inclusion criteria. The median (interquartile range) age was 8.0 (5.0 to 12.0) years and 62.0% (n=238) were male individuals. Twenty-two of 384 (5.7%) children had systolic dysfunction. Four of 22 had moderate-systolic and one of 22 had mild systolic dysfunction, for whom the therapy was altered, and they were treated without anthracyclines. Four of these 5 patients died, and only 1 of 5 survived through high-risk protocol. Seventeen of 22 children had low-normal systolic dysfunction. We found no evidence of an association between body mass index for age and abnormal left ventricular ejection fraction and abnormal fractional shortening (P-trend=0.587; 0.487, respectively). No associations were found of weight-for-age and height-for-age with these outcomes.
Conclusions: In developing countries, echocardiograms should be expeditiously performed and technology made more accessible to rule out cardiac dysfunction and avoid delay in chemotherapy. Malnutrition was not associated with cardiac dysfunction.


Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology