The Role of Rehabilitation Medicine in Managing Cardiopulmonary Complications of Cancer

Grigory Syrkin, Matthew N. Bartels

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Cancer survivors represent the largest cohort of patients seeking specialty rehabilitative care. They carry a heavy burden of cardiopulmonary complications, but in the past have been excluded from many exercise studies, owing to perceived increased risk. Recent Findings: Cardiopulmonary dysfunction in cancer survivors is a complex phenomenon that goes beyond lung volume loss, dilated cardiomyopathy, or accelerated coronary artery disease. All training modalities have been explored in cancer survivors before, during, and after active treatment, proving effective against aerobic capacity decline due to cancer. Summary: We summarize common adverse treatment effects, particularly due to newer chemotherapeutic agents, and provide examples of exercise interventions, designed to mitigate cardiopulmonary decline in a cancer survivor. Carefully designed routines can be safely applied in most situations, where aerobic reconditioning is needed. Lastly, physiatrists may be the most effective advocates in overcoming systemic barriers, such as insurance regulations, that limit access to cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-130
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Orthotopic heart transplant (OHT)
  • Oxygen consumption (VO)
  • Prehabilitation
  • Survivorship
  • Ventricular assist device (VAD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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