Gabriele Castelli

Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi, Florens, Tuscany, Italy

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Publications (27)59.89 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: -The clinical course of patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and advanced heart failure (HF) subtended by progressive left ventricular (LV) dysfunction has received limited attention. Our aim was to assess the outcome of HF and impact of treatment options including the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and heart transplantation (HT) in HCM patients evaluated at two Italian referral centers over 3 decades. Methods and results: -All-cause mortality and a combined end-point including death, HT or appropriate ICD shock was assessed in 71 consecutive patients with HF not related to outflow obstruction (7% of the entire HCM cohort) followed for 6.1±6.9 years after development of NYHA class III-IV symptoms. At enrollment, LV ejection fraction was <50% in 55 patients and >50% in 16; all had restrictive LV filling. During follow-up, 35 patients died (49%%; 5-year rate 49%) and 53 met the combined end-point (75%; 5-year rate 62%). Most events occurred in the three years after HF onset (17%/year, compared to only 3%/year subsequently). Appropriate ICD shocks occurred in 11 of 34 implanted patients. Of 37 patients evaluated for HT, 14 were transplanted, 10 listed and 13 excluded; two early post-HT deaths occurred in patients with elevated pulmonary vascular resistance. Eleven of the 14 HT patients were alive at 10±8 years. Conclusions: -In HCM, advanced HF not associated with outflow obstruction portends a severely unfavorable prognosis, particularly in the first three years following onset of symptoms, despite frequently preserved systolic function in about one quarter of the patients. Outcome of HT is favourable but requires early consideration, as the window of opportunity may be short.
    Circulation Heart Failure 10/2015; 8(6). DOI:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.114.001843 · 5.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chagas disease is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. In endemic areas (South and Central America), Chagas disease represents a relevant public health issue, and is the most frequent cause of cardiomyopathy. In nonendemic areas, such as Europe, Chagas disease represents an emerging problem following the establishment of sizeable communities from Brazil and Bolivia. Chagas cardiomyopathy represents the most frequent and serious complication of chronic Chagas disease, affecting about 20-30% of patients, potentially leading to heart failure, arrhythmias, thromboembolism, stroke and sudden death. Because late complications of Chagas disease may develop several years or even decades after the acute infection, it may be extremely challenging to reach the correct diagnosis in patients long removed from the countries of origin. We report two examples of Chagas cardiomyopathy in South American women permanently residing in Italy for more than 20 years, presenting with cardiac manifestations ranging from left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure to isolated ventricular arrhythmias. The present review emphasizes that Chagas disease should be considered as a potential diagnosis in patients from endemic areas presenting with 'idiopathic' cardiac manifestations, even when long removed from their country of origin, with potential implications for treatment and control of Chagas disease transmission.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 07/2014; Publish Ahead of Print. DOI:10.2459/JCM.0000000000000045 · 1.51 Impact Factor

  • International journal of cardiology 08/2013; 168(4). DOI:10.1016/j.ijcard.2013.08.042 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: -Contemporary therapeutic options have led to substantial improvement in survival of heart failure (HF) patients. However, limited evidence is available specifically regarding idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDCM). We thus examined changes in prognosis of a large IDCM cohort systematically followed over the last thirty years. -From 1977 to 2011, 603 consecutive patients (age=53±12 years, 73%=male, LV ejection fraction=32±10%) fulfilling WHO criteria for IDCM, including negative coronary angiography, were followed for 8.8±6.3 years. Patients were subdivided in four enrollment periods based on HF treatment "eras": 1) 1977-1984(n=66); 2) 1985-1990(n=102); 3) 1991-2000(n=197); 4) 2001-2011(n=238). Rates of patients receiving ACEI/ARBs, beta-blockers and devices at final evaluation increased from 56%, 12%, 8% (period 1) to 97%, 86%, 17% (period 4), respectively (p<0.05). There was a trend towards enrollment of older patients with less severe LV dilatation and dysfunction over the years. During follow-up, 271 patients (45%) reached a combined end-point including death (HF-related, n=142; sudden death, n=71; non-cardiac, n=22) or cardiac transplant (n=36). A more recent enrollment period represented the most powerful independent predictor of favorable outcome [period 2 vs 1 (HR=0.64; p=0.04), period 3 vs 1 (HR=0.35; p<0.001), period 4 vs 1 (HR=0.14; p<001)]. Each period was associated with a 42% risk reduction vs the previous one (HR=0.58, 95%CI=0.50-0.67, p<0.001), reflecting marked decreases in HF-related mortality and sudden death (period 4 vs 1: HR=0.10; p<001, HR=0.13; p<0.0001, respectively). -Evidence-based treatment has led to dramatic improvement in the prognosis of IDCM over the last three decades. The benefits of controlled randomized trials can be replicated in the real world, emphasizing the importance of tailored follow-up and long-term continuity of care.
    Circulation Heart Failure 07/2013; 6(5). DOI:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.112.000120 · 5.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the plasma levels of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) correlate with functional capacity. However, their prognostic relevance remains unresolved. We followed up 183 stable outpatients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (age 50 ± 17 years, 64% men) for 3.9 ± 2.8 years after NT-proBNP measurement. The primary end point included cardiovascular death, heart transplantation, resuscitated cardiac arrest, and appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator intervention. The secondary end point (SE) included heart failure-related death or hospitalization, progression to end-stage disease, and stroke. The median NT-proBNP level was 615 pg/ml (intertertile range 310 to 1,025). The incidence of the primary end point in the lower, middle, and upper tertiles was 0%, 1.3%, and 2.1% annually, respectively (overall p = 0.01). On multivariate analysis, the only independent predictors of the primary end point were NT-proBNP (hazard ratio for log-transformed values 5.8, 95% confidence interval 1.07 to 31.6; p = 0.04) and a restrictive left ventricular filling pattern (hazard ratio 5.19, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 21.9; p = 0.02). The NT-proBNP cutoff value of 810 pg/ml had the best sensitivity for the primary end point (88%), but the specificity was low (61%). The incidence of the SE in the lower, middle, and upper NT-proBNP tertiles was 4.6%, 12.0%, and 11.2% annually, respectively (overall p = 0.001). An NT-proBNP level of <310 pg/ml was associated with a 75% reduction in the rate of SE compared with a level of ≥310 pg/ml (hazard ratio 0.25, 95% confidence interval 0.11 to 0.57; p = 0.001), independent of age, left ventricular outflow tract obstruction, or atrial fibrillation. In conclusion, in stable outpatients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, plasma NT-proBNP proved a powerful independent predictor of death and heart failure-related events. Although the positive predictive accuracy of an elevated NT-proBNP level was modest, low values reflected true clinical stability, suggesting the possibility of avoiding or postponing aggressive treatment options.
    The American journal of cardiology 07/2013; 112(8). DOI:10.1016/j.amjcard.2013.06.018 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Male patients with Anderson-Fabry disease (AFD) often exhibit cardiac involvement, characterized by LV hypertrophy (LVH), associated with severe coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD). Whether CMD is present in patients without LVH, particularly when female, remains unresolved. The aim of the study was to investigate the presence of CMD by positron emission tomography (PET) in AFD patients of both genders, with and without evidence of LVH. We assessed myocardial blood flow following dipyridamole infusion (Dip-MBF) with (13)N-labelled ammonia by PET in 30 AFD patients (age 51 ± 13 years; 18 females) and in 24 healthy controls. LVH was defined as echocardiographic maximal LV wall thickness ≥13 mm. LVH was present in 67% of patients (n = 20; 10 males and 10 females). Dip-MBF was reduced in all patients compared with controls (1.8 ± 0.5 and 3.2 ± 0.5 mL/min/g, respectively, P < 0.001). For both genders, flow impairment was most severe in patients with LVH (1.4 ± 0.5 mL/min/g in males and 1.9 ± 0.5 mL/min/g in females), but was also evident in those without LVH (1.8 ± 0.3 mL/min/g in males and 2.1 ± 0.4 mL/min/g in females; overall P = 0.064 vs. patients with LVH). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for the 17 LV segments showed marked regional heterogeneity of MBF in AFD (F = 4.46, P < 0.01), with prevalent hypoperfusion of the apical region. Conversely, controls showed homogeneous LV perfusion (F = 1.25, P = 0.23). Coronary microvascular function is markedly impaired in AFD patients irrespective of LVH and gender. CMD may represent the only sign of cardiac involvement in AFD patients, with potentially important implications for clinical management.
    European Journal of Heart Failure 06/2013; 15(12). DOI:10.1093/eurjhf/hft104 · 6.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heart failure and myocardial infarction result in considerable consumption of healthcare resources. Therefore, there is interest in the availability of drug therapies that can favorably modify their prognosis in the post-acute phase, reducing mortality and rehospitalization rates. Aldosterone antagonists represent a class of drugs which offer advantages in these settings, in addition to those obtained with beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, even though attention should be drawn to their potential adverse effects. In particular, eplerenone exhibits a better safety profile than spironolactone. Since it has very little affinity for glucocorticoid, androgen and progesterone receptors, eplerenone has less antiandrogenic and progestagenic effects, resulting in a lower incidence of gynecomastia. The EPHESUS study showed that eplerenone can reduce mortality in the short and long term and the rate of new hospitalizations after a myocardial infarction complicated by heart failure. In addition, in the EMPHASIS-HF study eplerenone reduced cardiovascular mortality and hospitalizations after mild heart failure (NYHA class IIa). Despite these important results, which confirmed those obtained with spironolactone in severe heart failure in the RALES study, aldosterone antagonists are still underutilized. In particular, eplerenone is not yet available in Italy, although it is recommended by the latest European Society of Cardiology guidelines.
    Giornale italiano di cardiologia (2006) 12/2012; 13(12):809-16. DOI:10.1714/1188.13164
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    ABSTRACT: Heart failure (HF) is one of the leading causes of hospitalization and medical expenditure, especially in elderly patients. Cooperation between specialists and general practitioners may improve outcomes. A 1-year hospital-territory disease management program was designed in collaboration with the Tuscany Region and the Ministry of Health involving specialists, general practitioners and nurses to investigate the impact of our model on healthcare organization and hospitalization rates in patients with HF. The program used a web-based clinical report form, and monitoring of patients from specialists and nurses was coordinated by the general practitioners. We enrolled 106 patients (78.3% male, mean age 74.6 years), with a mean left ventricular ejection fraction 49% and mean Charlson index 2.2. A statistically significant reduction was observed in the number of hospitalizations and emergency calls compared with the previous year. HF severity did not substantially changed in 69.8% of patients, whereas it improved in 17.0% and worsened in 13.2% (NYHA class). Our preliminary data suggest that cooperation between hospitals and medical systems in the territory by means of a web-based clinical report may result in better management of healthcare interventions in the territory with subsequent reduction of hospitalizations. An extension of this model is now ongoing for collecting data from different areas, both within and outside Tuscany.
    Giornale italiano di cardiologia (2006) 09/2012; 13(9):615-21. DOI:10.1714/1133.12490
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the clinical, biohumoral, and haemodynamic effects of ultrafiltration vs. intravenous diuretics in patients with decompensated heart failure (HF). Signs and symptoms of volume overload are often present in these patients and standard therapy consists primarily of intravenous diuretics. Increasing evidence suggests that ultrafiltration can be an effective alternative treatment. Thirty patients with decompensated HF were randomly assigned to diuretics or ultrafiltration. Haemodynamic variables, including several novel parameters indicating the overall performance of the cardiovascular system, were continuously assessed with the Pressure Recording Analytical Method before, during, at the end of treatment (EoT) and 36 h after completing treatment. Aldosterone and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) plasma levels were also measured. Patients treated with ultrafiltration had a more pronounced reduction in signs and symptoms of HF at EoT compared with baseline, and a significant decrease in plasma aldosterone (0.24 ± 0.25 vs. 0.86 ± 1.04 nmol/L; P < 0.001) and NT-proBNP levels (2823 ± 2474 vs. 5063 ± 3811 ng/L; P < 0.001) compared with the diuretic group. The ultrafiltration group showed a significant improvement (% of baseline) in a number of haemodynamic parameters, including stroke volume index (114.0 ± 11.7%; P < 0.001), cardiac index (123.0 ± 20.8%; P < 0.001), cardiac power output (114.0 ± 13.8%; P < 0.001), dP/dt(max) (129.5 ± 19.9%; P < 0.001), and cardiac cycle efficiency (0.24 ± 0.54 vs. -0.14 ± 0.50 units; P < 0.05), and a significant reduction in systemic vascular resistance 36 h after the treatment (88.0 ± 10.9%; P < 0.001), which was not observed in the diuretic group. In patients with advanced HF, ultrafiltration facilitates a greater clinical improvement compared with diuretic infusion by ameliorating haemodynamics (assessed using a minimally invasive methodology) without a marked increase in aldosterone or NT-proBNP levels.
    European Journal of Heart Failure 03/2011; 13(3):337-46. DOI:10.1093/eurjhf/hfq207 · 6.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate whether alterations in left ventricular (LV) twisting and untwisting motion could be induced by cardiac involvement in patients with immunoglobulin light-chain (AL) systemic amyloidosis. Forty-five patients with AL amyloidosis and 26 control subjects were evaluated. After standard echocardiographic measurement and two-dimensional (2D) speckle tracking echocardiography, LV rotation at both basal and apical planes, twisting, twisting rate, and longitudinal strain were measured. Tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) derived early diastolic peak velocity at septal mitral annulus (E') was also evaluated. Twenty-six of 45 patients with systemic amyloidosis were classified as having cardiac amyloidosis (CA) if the mean value of the LV wall thickness was ≥ 12 mm or not (NCA) if this value was not reached. In NCA patients, both LV twist and untwisting rate were increased while they were decreased in CA patients making them similar to the control group. Longitudinal strain was reduced only in CA patients. Impaired relaxation as indicated by E' values was progressively reduced in the course of the disease. Both twisting and untwisting motions are increased in patients with AL systemic amyloidosis with no evidence of cardiac involvement while they are reduced in patients with evident amyloidosis cardiac involvement. This finding suggests that impaired LV relaxation induces a compensatory mechanism in the early phase of the disease, which fails in more advanced stage when both twisting and untwisting rates are reduced. The increase in LV rotational mechanics could be a marker of subclinical cardiac involvement.
    Echocardiography 10/2010; 27(9):1061-8. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-8175.2010.01199.x · 1.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using traditional echocardiography, the diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis (CA) is often only possible in advanced stage when recommended therapies may have adverse effects. The aim of our study was to evaluate whether additional information can be derived from Tissue and strain Doppler imaging (TDI and SDI). Forty patients with systemic amyloidosis and 24 healthy subjects underwent traditional, tissue and strain Doppler echocardiography. Patients were classified having CA if mean wall thickness (mT), was half of the sum septum and posterior wall thickness, was > or =12 mm. The following parameters were evaluated: peak early diastolic velocity (Em) as index of ventricular relaxation, mitral E-wave to Em ratio (E/Em) as index of left ventricular (LV) filling pressure and mean LV strain peak curves (mSt) as global long-axis contraction index. In non cardiac amyloidosis (NCA), both Em and mSt were lower than in age matched controls (p < 0.01, p < 0.05, respectively) and higher than in CA (p < 0.01 and p < 0.01, respectively). Both Em and mSt were related to mT (p < 0.001). A significant (p < 0.01) nonlinear relation was observed between plasma terminal of pro B-natriuretic peptide and mT, Em, E/Em and mSt. TDI and SDI are able to detect amyloid myocardial involvement in such an early stage that cannot be evidenced by using traditional echocardiography.
    Amyloid: the international journal of experimental and clinical investigation: the official journal of the International Society of Amyloidosis 01/2009; 16(2):63-70. DOI:10.1080/13506120902879681 · 2.01 Impact Factor

  • Clinical Therapeutics 01/2007; 29. DOI:10.1016/S0149-2918(07)80463-2 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In patients with heart failure, poor ejection fraction and estimated severe aortic stenosis because of a reduced aortic valve area (AVA) and low gradients, dobutamine echocardiography (DE) was proposed to distinguish afterload mismatch from primary left ventricular dysfunction. In this setting the feasibility and safety of DE and the outcome following management based on DE results were investigated. Forty-eight patients (mean age 73 +/- 9 years; 79% males; AVA 0.7 +/- 0.2 cm2; mean aortic gradient 22 +/- 6 mmHg; ejection fraction 0.28 +/- 0.07; NYHA functional class 2.9 +/- 0.8) underwent DE and were followed up for 24 +/- 21 months. Aortic valve replacement (AVR) was offered to patients with left ventricular contractile reserve (ejection fraction increase > or = 30% at peak DE) and fixed aortic stenosis (AVA increase < or = 0.25 cm2). DE elicited a left ventricular contractile reserve in 38 patients (79%). Among these, fixed aortic stenosis was present in 28 patients, among whom 19 underwent AVR and 9 declined surgery. The 20 patients without contractile reserve or with relative stenosis (AVA increase > 0.25 cm2) were not considered eligible for surgery. During follow-up, 23 cardiovascular deaths occurred: 2/19 among operated patients, 7/9 among patients who declined surgery and 14/20 among non-eligible patients. Patients with AVR showed a significantly more favorable outcome and improved functional status as compared to the other two groups (NYHA class 1.2 +/- 0.4 vs 2.7 +/- 0.6 at baseline; p < 0.001). Conversely, non-surgical management was the strongest independent predictor of an adverse outcome (relative risk 3.6, 95% confidence interval 1.8-7.3; p < 0.0001). In patients with heart failure and estimated severe aortic stenosis, DE could identify a subgroup with a left ventricular contractile reserve and fixed aortic stenosis who gained great benefit from AVR. The clinical outcome of patients who were not operated upon was unfavorable.
    Italian heart journal: official journal of the Italian Federation of Cardiology 04/2003; 4(4):264-70.
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    ABSTRACT: Both beta-blockers as well as positive inotropic drugs may be indicated for the treatment of patients with advanced or refractory heart failure. When tolerated, beta-blocker therapy is able to counteract the adverse biologic effects produced by the chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system and, therefore, to delay the progression of the disease. Conversely, although the long-term administration of positive inotropic agents is not recommended, these drugs may be required to face episodes of acute hemodynamic deterioration, which frequently occur in patients who are so severely impaired. Beta-blocker and positive inotropic therapies are currently viewed as alternative strategies for the management of severe heart failure patients. However, both the theoretical background and preliminary clinical evidences about the combined use of these two drug classes are suggestive of the potential for cumulative benefits and of the mutual attenuation of deleterious effects.
    Italian heart journal. Supplement: official journal of the Italian Federation of Cardiology 09/2002; 3(8):804-11.
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    ABSTRACT: The most frequent localization of amyloid in transthyretin (TTR) mutations is in the peripheral nerve, causing familial amyloidpolyneuropathy (FAP). It is generally accompanied by involvement of other organs such as the myocardium and kidney. To date, over 70 TTR point mutations have been reported in literature, with different phenotypes depending on the location of the mutation in the TTR gene. This paper deals with a point mutation in exon 2 position 47 of the TTR gene, encoding the substitution of glycine with glutamate. The mutation was found in an Italian family with 5 patients over 3 generations. The phenotype was characterised by peripheral neuropathy and autonomic dysfunction, associated in some patients with cardiomyopathy and renal involvement. The symptoms were very severe and the patients did not survive long, thus suggesting the aggressive nature of the pathological process. Moreover, in the succeeding generations of this family, there was genetic anticipation in the age of onset of the disease.
    Amyloid 04/2002; 9(1):35-41. DOI:10.3109/13506120209072443 · 2.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sudden death frequently occurs in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Ventricular arrhythmias are encountered in almost all cases. The prognostic significance of life-threatening arrhythmias such as successfully resuscitated ventricular fibrillation and sustained ventricular tachycardia is well known, while it is controversial for ventricular arrhythmias of a lower degree. Amiodarone has been used widely in these patients but its value in preventing sudden death is still uncertain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic significance of runs of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT) as a hallmark for sudden death and the efficacy of amiodarone in preventing sudden death and reducing overall mortality in a large series of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. Over the period between 1983 and 1994, a series of 151 consecutive patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy underwent ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring for a mean period of 191 hours/patient. Seventy-nine patients (56 male, mean age 50.7 +/- 13.1 years) (group A) had ventricular arrhythmias of Lown class < or = 4A, while 72 (53 male, mean age 48.6 +/- 12.8 years) (group B) had one or more NSVT runs. The two groups were well matched in terms of clinical features. Mean follow-up period was 86.8 +/- 38.7 and 74.7 +/- 39.5 months, respectively. In group A no antiarrhythmic drug was administered, while in group B 54/72 patients were treated with amiodarone (mean dosage 300 mg/day) for a mean period of 69.7 +/- 37.8 months (group B1). The remaining 18 patients received class I antiarrhythmic drugs, mexiletine (12) and propaphenone (6) for a mean period of 46.1 +/- 29.4 months, because amiodarone was contraindicated (3) or serious side-effects occurred during amiodarone treatment (15), which was discontinued after a mean period of 3.8 +/- 3.1 months (group B2). The cumulative survival probability in the whole population was 86.6% at two years and 65.6% at five years. The rate of sudden death was 6.0% at two years and 18.3% at five years. No statistically significant difference was observed in terms of all-cause mortality or sudden death in the three groups (A, B1, B2). In group B1, amiodarone determined the disappearance of NSVT at Holter monitoring in 50% of patients (27), with no significant difference in the rate of sudden death between the two subgroups. In unselected patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular mortality does not differ between those with NSVT on chronic amiodarone treatment and those without NSVT who have not undergone antiarrhythmic therapy. There was a trend towards a higher overall and sudden mortality rate in patients with NSVT treated with other antiarrhythmic drugs vs patients with NSVT treated with amiodarone, but due to the small size of the first group no significant difference could be calculated. Assuming NSVT as a potential prognostic marker for sudden death, amiodarone treatment may have exerted a beneficial effect in these patients, but this statement is only a presumption due to the limitations of our study. The disappearance of NSVT during amiodarone treatment is not predictive of a reduced rate in sudden death, so that the potential effect of the drug does not appear to be related to the suppression of NSVT at Holter monitoring.
    Giornale italiano di cardiologia 05/1999; 29(5):514-23.
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    ABSTRACT: Most of the information available on the clinical course and prognosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is based on data generated from international referral centres and as a result, it constitutes a potentially biased perspective of the disease process in this complex and diverse condition. A multicentric study was therefore set up with the aim of providing information on unselected patient populations with HCM. The study group comprised 330 patients from 5 non-referral hospitals (mean age 42 +/- 16 years, M/F 226/104, 74-22%-obstructive, 299-91%-in NYHA class I-II) who were followed up regularly for 9.5 +/- 5.6 years. The vast majority of patients (n = 272, 82%) remained asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic during the follow-up period, whereas the remaining patients (n = 58, 18%) experienced clinical deterioration or died. Of the 18 patients (5%) who died of cardiovascular causes related to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 14 had progressive congestive heart failure and only 4 died suddenly. The annual mortality rate for cardiovascular disease was 0.57%, while the mortality rate due to sudden cardiac death was only 0.1%. The cumulative survival rate was 98, 95 and 93%, at 5, 10 and 15 years of follow-up respectively. Atrial fibrillation proved to be a relatively common (n = 81, 24%) and particularly unfavourable clinical feature, with higher mortality rate for cardiovascular causes related to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Syncope occurred in 47 patients (14%) but did not appear to have prognostic significance. In an unselected population, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy had a relatively benign prognosis that was inconsistent with its prior characterization as a generally progressive disorder, based primarily on the experience of selected referral institutions. Sudden unexpected cardiac death was distinctly uncommon, although a sizable proportion of patients, particularly the subset prone to atrial fibrillation, did experience clinical deterioration.
    Giornale italiano di cardiologia 12/1997; 27(11):1133-43.
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    ABSTRACT: The onset of atrial fibrillation (AF) in hyperthyroid patients constitutes an unfavorable clinical event associated with high risk of cardiovascular complications, occurring in approximately one fifth of patients. Therefore, it is advantageous to define noninvasive markers that may identify patients at risk. The high-resolution, signal-averaged electrocardiogram was used to evaluate the relation between P-wave duration and occurrence of paroxysmal AF in a group of 50 patients with hyperthyroidism, of whom 24 had a history of paroxysmal AF and 26 did not. Filtered signal-averaged P-wave duration was measured over an average of 300 beats/patient while in sinus rhythm, both at the time of first diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and after restoration of euthyroidism by medical treatment. The 24 patients with paroxysmal AF had significantly greater P-wave duration than the 26 patients without it (135 +/- 7 vs 124 +/- 9 ms; p = 0.001). A P-wave duration cut-off value of 130 ms held specificity, sensitivity, and positive predictive accuracy values of 79%, 85%, and 83%, respectively. Of several variables, multivariate analysis showed P-wave duration to be the only independent variable significantly associated with the occurrence of paroxysmal AF. Thus, the high-resolution signal-averaged electrocardiogram may be a useful noninvasive clinical tool for the identification of electrical instability associated with paroxysmal AF in hyperthyroid patients.
    The American Journal of Cardiology 03/1996; 77(4):266-9. DOI:10.1016/S0002-9149(97)89391-5 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The natural history of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC), once a disease with a dire prognosis, is thought to be changing. Aim of this study was to describe the clinical characteristics, long term course and prognostic factors of IDC patients followed up prospectively since the late eighties. Patients with a diagnosis of IDC confirmed by normal coronary angiography, non specific endomyocardial biopsy findings and a left ventricular ejection fraction below 50% were consecutively enrolled in a multicenter registry and followed up at 6-months intervals. From January 1986 till January 1994, 441 IDC patients with a mean age of 43 +/- 13 years (range 8-68) entered the registry. Thirty per cent of patients were women and 8% had familial dilated cardiomyopathy. NYHA class was I-II in 77% and 35% of patients were asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis. Treatment included digitalis in 235 patients (53%), diuretics in 239 (54%), angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors in 269 (61%), betablockers in 108 (24%). Chronic atrial fibrillation was detected in 10% of patients and left bundle branch block in 24%. Mean cardiothoracic ratio was 0.54 +/- 0.06. Mean left ventricular end diastolic dimension was 38 +/- 6 mm/m2; 48% of patients had minimal or mild left ventricular dilatation. Mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 30 +/- 10%. At Holter monitoring 67% of cases had complex ventricular arrhythmias, 37% had ventricular tachycardia and 4% had advanced atrioventricular block. Mean exercise stress test duration was 9 +/- 4 minutes. After a mean follow up of 31 +/- 24 months, 337 patients were alive without transplantation and 5 were lost to follow up; 60 patients (14%) had died of cardiac causes, namely heart failure (6%), sudden death (7%) and pulmonary embolism (< 1%) and 30 had been transplanted (7%), while 4 had died of unclear causes. Survival and transplant-free survival were 94% and 90% at 2 years and 82 and 76% at 5 years, respectively. At multivariate analysis pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (p = 0.0001, odds ratio, for values > 15 mm Hg, 2.05) and betablocker treatment (p = 0.002, odds ratio 0.26) were independent predictors of survival. In this large, multicenter prospective study, prognosis of IDC in the eighties appears to be improved. Early diagnosis, together with improved medical treatment, probably bears a causal relation to these changes.
    Giornale italiano di cardiologia 09/1995; 25(9):1109-25.
  • M Ciaccheri · G Castelli · M Nannini · G Santoro · V Troiani · A Dolara ·
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to assess the role of oral anticoagulant therapy in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy at risk of embolic complications. We studied retrospectively two hundred thirty-six patients with dilated cardiomyopathy; sixty-eight cases, with intracavitary thrombosis at cross-sectional echocardiography (17 patients), embolic episodes (22), N.Y.H.A. functional class IV (38), chronic atrial fibrillation (23) or with a combination of such conditions, were treated with warfarin. The cumulative period of exposure to embolic events during follow-up was 814 years in the whole population in the absence of anticoagulant treatment and 213 years during treatment. The rate of new embolic events was 1.6 and 0 for 100 patients-years for the two periods respectively. The difference was not statistically significant. No clinically relevant haemorrhagic complication was seen during treatment. Oral anticoagulant therapy may be safely given to subgroups of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy at risk of embolic episodes, following empirical guidelines, provided a careful clinical and laboratory monitoring is carried on, even if no definite conclusion may be obtained about the efficacy of this treatment from a non-randomized study with low rates of new embolic events.
    Giornale italiano di cardiologia 07/1995; 25(6):689-94.

Publication Stats

305 Citations
59.89 Total Impact Points


  • 2009-2013
    • Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi
      Florens, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2007-2013
    • University of Florence
      • Dipartimento di Chirurgia e Medicina Traslazionale (DCMT)
      Florens, Tuscany, Italy