At Kazan Law, we know that the effects of mesothelioma on the body can be far-reaching. I recently came across a report in the Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology, which published a case report detailing a mesothelioma patient who developed atrial fibrillation, or AF. The Japanese doctors who treated him theorized that the heart complication was a result of physical crowding caused by tumors in his chest.
Growths in the chest can interfere with health
The authors of the study noted that advanced cases of pleural mesothelioma can lead to the growth of mediastinal masses or tumors. Doctors from MedStar Washington Hospital Center describe the mediastinum as the area of the chest that is between the lungs. Small masses may not cause any symptoms, but sometimes, mediastinal tumors can cause chest pain, persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, trouble breathing, fever, night sweats or unexplained weight loss.
Doctors can diagnose the presence of a mediastinal tumor by conducting a chest x-ray, CT scan or biopsy. They may also perform a mediastinoscopy, which inserts a super-thin camera into the chest cavity for a visual inspection.
Usually, a mediastinal growth can be controlled with the help of surgery.
What is AF?
A danger associated with any tumor is the possibility that the abnormal tissue growth can disrupt the function of any surrounding organs. In the case of a mediastinal tumor, the heart can be affected.
The authors of the case study found that, in one patient, a mediastinal tumor that grew out of mesothelioma may have caused AF.
Here’s what you need to know about AF: The American Heart Association describes it as a condition in which the normal rhythm of the heart is disrupted, and the top two chambers of the organ do not beat effectively. As a result, blood can pool in these chambers and form clots. These clots can cause a stroke if they block the circulation of blood to important areas of the body.
Furthermore, AF can lead to heart fatigue, chronic fatigue, poor circulation and other problems.
People who have AF sometimes describe feeling a fluttering sensation in their chest, but one of the dangers of this condition is that symptoms are not always obvious, and patients may not be properly diagnosed for some time.
Doctors find a possible new cause of AF
It turns out there was another interesting case that caught my attention – in Japan, doctors treated a 70-year-old man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma at the age of 66. When he was admitted to the hospital for the last time, he showed evidence of a mediastinal tumor, AF and other problems. He eventually died 29 days later.
The medical exam that followed his death revealed that several of his organs and major blood vessels were impacted by the mediastinal tumor and other growths. AF was a likely result of this interference.
“AF due to a mediastinal tumor can be cured by surgical excision of the tumor,” the doctors wrote. “Although the treatment of advanced mesothelioma is difficult, chemotherapy using pemetrexed and cisplatin, antibody-based therapies targeting epidermal growth factor receptor, and immunotherapy have been attempted recently. Advanced mesothelioma can cause AF, and the reduction in the tumor size using such therapies may prevent AF. It is important to diagnose mesothelioma at an early stage.”
This is just one more reason why global efforts to ban the use and production of asbestos are important, and why we at Kazan Law believe so much in what we do.