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Researchers investigate chest radiation and heart trouble correlation

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(CBS) – Research shows that chest radiation used to treat tumors for cancers like breast cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma can put patients at higher risk for aggressive heart disease.

Now a new Cleveland Clinic study of about 500 people shows patients who had chest radiation are nearly twice as likely to die in the years after heart surgery.

Dr. Milind Desai says doctors should try to minimize radiation exposure and shield their patients when possible. He also says heart surgeons may be able to use less invasive options.

“In the higher risk patients were working on developing new technologies which would not require a full blown open heart surgery,” said Desai.

Researchers say the patients in their study needed heart surgery, on average,18 years after radiation.