With the advent of modern therapeutic approaches, even patients with advanced Hodgkin's disease have high cure rates today. Therefore, more attention is gradually being focused upon the late complications of chemotherapy and irradiation, appearing long after the patient is in remission and thought to be cured. In this report, we review the incidence and presentation of some of the cardiovascular and pulmonary complications which may appear later in the course of the disease. Cardiovascular mishaps reviewed include pericardial manifestations, conduction abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, and premature coronary artery disease. Pulmonary complications discussed are lung fibrosis, spontaneous pneumothorax, pulmonary veno-occlusive disease, and hyperlucent lung. Three instructive cases from our recent experience, are also presented. One fatal case was due to cardiac failure because of radiation-induced pericarditis and coronary artery disease. Another patient with an almost fatal complication required lung transplantation because of severe bilateral radiation fibrosis of the lung and pulmonary veno-occlusive disease. The third instance was also life-threatening in nature, with radiation-induced arterial changes in the major arteries of the chest and neck, resulting in recurrent cerebral and ophthalmic thrombo-embolic disease. It is suggested that potentially severe cardiopulmonary complications be considered during the planning of the initial and subsequent management of patients with Hodgkin's disease, particularly in an era employing autologous and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation as part of therapy in some cases.
- Hodgkin's disease
- Late complications