Heart checks for Herceptin

Could I just ask please what heart checks you ladies in the UK have done when on Herceptin?

I am going for an ECG this week, but just wondered if there should be anything else that ought to be checked, is an ECG enough?

Many thanks

Haven’t started Herceptin yet but have been told I have to have an ECG. I’d be interested to hear what other ladies have experienced.

Hi! I had a total of four echocardiograms - the first a baseline and the others to check heart function during herceptin. It takes about 20-30 minutes, and is one of those where they put gel on and rub a measuring thing over you. It measures the throughput pressure or something (???). It is actually quite a pleasant experience.

Good luck with it.


I have been on herceptin for almost 5 years now and have MUGA scans supposedly every 3 months but when I am behaving! they let me go 6 months. Immediately before having the MUGA scan I have an ECG. MUGA & echo’s give more or less the same information - how the heart muscle is performing - as the risk with herceptin is that the muscle weakens and does not pump as efficiently as it needs to.


The echo cardiogram is measuring the left ventricular ejection fraction as a percentage. You need to prferably be over 60% at the start of your treatment. The lower limit is 50% to continue treatment. You should be scanned every 3 months during your treatment.
And that’s all I know as I’m about to embark on the same!!

Good luck

Td xx

Hi Peacock
I’ve had Herceptin every 3 weeks for about 20 months now and will continue to do so for as long as everything is going OK heartwise.
I have ECHO scans every 3 months and on 1 occasion last year when my ECHO result was low for the output reading (below 50%) I had an MRI. Herceptin was suspended for a few weeks until the MRI results showed that all was well and the ECHO report had been inaccurate!! No problem since.
Just out of interest I wonder if anyone is having Herceptin more frequently than three week intervals. I have liver secondaries and have read that it’s possible to have it weekly.
Good Luck.

My LVEF fell as low as 42% on one occasion. (It tends to fluctuate quite a bit from 68 at its best, generally around 54 on average). On that occasion I persuaded my consultant to allow me to continue as I had no other symptoms of congestive heart failure i.e. breathlessness, swollen ankles. At that time I had been told I had come to the end of the line of chemotherapy drugs and the herceptin seems to be working very well for keep the cancer under control. My latest MUGA was down to 50% but the onc has said not a problem - so long as I dont have symptoms. It seems some interpret the NICE guidelines rigidly and others allow for some flexibility.

Carol: I too have heard of herceptin being administered weekly in advanced breast cancer cases but the overall dose is the same as in 3-weekly herceptin.


Thanks to all for your help.

I started Herceptin just before my 4th chemo, so had herceptin then just a week later had herceptin again with the 4th chemo. I thought it might be a problem to have it so close together but the dr said no. Now I have it every 3 weeks and haven’t yet had a heart check, so this is the first one. I didn’t suffer any worse side effects from having the two doses a week apart, if that is any help.


I have just had my Herceptin No. 11 of 17. I have both an Echocardiogram and an Electrocardiogram after every 4th Herceptin, which works out at 3 monthly intervals. I also had one before Herceptin started.

An Echocardiogram is an ultrasound to check the left ventrical of the heart, and an Electrocardiogram (ECG) is when little stickers are attached to your chest, I think to monitor heartbeat patterns.

I am having Herceptin for primary HER-2positive bc, had a baseline 70% before starting Herceptin which has stayed reasonably steady so far at 68% and then 65%.

Good luck with your treatment Peacock


I had several isotope heart scans during my herceptin. My herceptin started with my 3rd Tax (maybe 4th) but my heart count went down to 40% so they suspended it for a few weeks.

louise xx

Hello Dawn
Thanks for the Herceptin info. I did wonder whether it was the same dosage every 3 weeks in total. I’ve got CT results tomorrow to see if the cancers active or not following a 3 month chemo break so fingers crossed. I was gonna mention the Herceptin to the consultant to see which is more beneficial 3 or 1 weekly but if the dose is the same overall don’t suppose there’s any difference.
Thanks again.
Carol xx

I had a heart scan,not an ECG and everything is fine I’m pleased to say.


Well Done Peacock
Very pleased to hear everything is going well.
Carol x

I was supposed to have 18 treatments but they were stopped after 11 treatments as my heart function dropped rapidly to 33%.
6 months on and my heart had barely recovered.
I am now on heart medication. It seems if it’s not one thing it’s another!
I guess I was just unlucky.

I have had 13  Herceptin injections and several ecocardiagams but the Oncoligist as just stopped them until I have had a MRI scan on my heart.