ATLANTA–Nearly three-quarters of patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed multiple myeloma (MM) experience cardiac adverse events (AEs), regardless of treatment stage, according to retrospective analysis of commercial and Medicare supplemental insurance claims databases, reported during the 54th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition.

“These results demonstrate a high incidence of cardiac comorbidities and occurrence of cardiac events in MM patients, especially arrhythmias and heart failure, regardless of relapse status and type of anti-MM treatment,” reported lead author Kristin D. Kistler, PhD, of United BioSource Corporation in Lexington, MA, and coauthors.

The analysis was based on data for 32,193 patients diagnosed during 2006-2011 (22,076 newly diagnosed and 1,723 relapsed).

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“Median duration of follow-up was 13 and 9 months, for newly diagnosed and relapsed patients, respectively,” Dr. Kistler said.

Older patient age and a history of cardiovascular events were strongly associated with occurrence of cardiac AEs, with an overall incidence of 59% in patients age <75 years versus 85% in patients age ≥75 years.

Among patients newly diagnosed with MM, the overall incidence of cardiac events was 72%, Dr. Kistler reported. The most frequent cardiac AEs among newly diagnosed patients were cardiac arrhythmias (24%), ischemic heart disease (19%) and congestive heart failure (15%).

Among patients who had experienced relapse, the overall incidence of cardiac AEs was 71%, with cardiac arrhythmias the most frequent AE (29%); CHF and ischemic heart disease occurred in 15% and 14% of the relapse patient population, respectively.