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Ambulatory electrocardiographic evaluation of the heart in patients treated by megachemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation

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The aim of the study was evaluation of the frequency of conduction defects and cardiac arrhythmias before and one month (once a week) after bone marrow transplantation (BMT). It was evaluated by 24-hour electrocardiography based on the Holter's method. There were 50 patients (mean age 29.0 years) examined who were treated with megachemotherapy based on BuCy2, BuCy4 (busulphan and cyclophosphamide), BEAM (carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, melphalan) and dexaBEAM (dexa-dexamethason) programs before BMT. No heart conduction defects occurred. The mean heart rate increased after BMT. Tachycardia (>100/min) was observed in 92.5-98.1% of patients and bradycardia (<60/min) in 41.6-68.0% patients. In 6% of patients bradycardia below 40/min occurred. The heart rate was increased in patients who previously used anthracycline antibiotics, had anaemia or fever, and in patients after autologous BMT (p < 0.05). The complex ventricular extrasystoles were detected in 20% of patients before megachemotherapy. They were more frequently observed in patients with hypokalemia (p < 0.05). After therapy these extrasystoles were observed in a total of 24% patients. There was a statistically significant correlation between this kind of extrasystole and age. The extrasystoles developed mainly in young men. In 10% they occurred de novo and also mainly in men. The heart failure (III°, IV° according to NYHA) occurred in 14% of patients and death caused by heart (or multiorgan) damage in 18%. Older patients and those who had higher mean heart rate during the first month after BMT were dying more frequently (p < 0.05).


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