Cardio-Oncology: Fluoropyrimidine Chemotherapy Treatment with 5-fluorouracil (5FU) or capecitabine

Fluoropyrimidine Chemotherapy

Exams and Tests

What types of heart tests might I need before starting cancer treatment?

You likely will get a baseline ECG before starting chemotherapy. Be sure to talk with your oncologist or cardiologist about your heart history. You also will discuss what other tests, if any, are needed. 

What types of heart tests might I have to detect fluoropyrimidine cardiotoxicity?

If you have chest pain, you may get tests to check for heart muscle damage. Knowing when the symptoms started and what type of chest pain you are feeling will be important. Tests you may have: 

  • Lab tests (blood work) to look for heart muscle damage
  • ECG
  • Ultrasound of the heart called an echocardiogram 
  • Chest X-ray
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan or the coronary arteries (coronary CT angiogram) 
  • Stress testing 
  • Cardiac catheterization 

These tests help assess the overall health of your heart arteries. You may need more testing or procedures if the tests show that you have blockages in your heart because of pre-existing coronary artery disease or your cardiac risk factors. To learn more, go to What Increases Your Risk

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Published: January 2019
Authors: Suparna Clasen, MD; Rupal O’Quinn, MD, FACC; Joseph R. Carver, MD, FACC
Medical Reviewers: Deb Sundloff, DO, FACC; Bonnie Ky, MD, MSCE, FACC

These modules were developed in collaboration with the Eastern Cooperative Group—American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ECOG-ACRIN) Cardiotoxicity Working Group and Patient Advocacy Group.

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