Alfonso Sestito

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart , Roma, Latium, Italy

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Publications (95)451.36 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: In this study, we assessed whether any abnormalities in coronary microvascular and peripheral vasodilator functions are present in patients with variant angina (VA) caused by epicardial coronary artery spasm (CAS). Methods: We studied 23 patients with VA (i.e. angina at rest, ST-segment elevation during angina attacks and documented occlusive CAS at angiography) and 18 matched healthy controls. Endothelium-dependent and -independent coronary microvascular function was assessed by measuring coronary blood flow (CBF) response to adenosine and the cold pressor test (CPT) in the left anterior descending artery by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography. Systemic endothelium-dependent and -independent arterial dilator function was assessed by measuring brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and nitrate-mediated dilation (NMD), respectively. Results: In VA patients, CBF responses to both adenosine (1.71 ± 0.25 vs. 2.97 ± 0.80, p < 0.01) and CPT (1.68 ± 0.23 vs. 2.58 ± 0.60, p < 0.01) were reduced compared to controls. Brachial FMD was also lower (3.87 ± 2.06 vs. 8.51 ± 2.95%, p < 0.01), but NMD was higher (16.7 ± 1.8 vs. 11.9 ± 1.4%, p < 0.01) in patients compared to controls. Differences were independent of the presence of coronary atherosclerotic lesions at angiography. Conclusions: Our data show that patients with VA have a generalized vascular dysfunction that involves both peripheral artery vessels and coronary microcirculation. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cardiology 06/2014; 129(1):20-24. · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classical anti-ischemic drugs are the first-line form of treatment in patients with microvascular angina (MVA), but they often fail to achieve a satisfactory control of angina symptoms. It is unknown whether there is any relation between improvement of angina status and changes in microvascular function induced by classical anti-ischemic drugs in MVA patients. To assess whether, in MVA patients, the effects of classical anti-ischemic drugs on symptoms and quality of life (QoL) are related to changes in coronary microvascular function. We studied 51 patients (59±10 years; 15 men) with MVA. Coronary blood flow (CBF) response to adenosine (ADO) and to cold pressor test (CPT), Seattle Angina Questionnaire (SAQ) and EuroQoL scale were assessed at baseline, in pharmacological washout, and after 12 months under anti-ischemic therapy. Patients were divided into 2 groups: (1) Group 1 included patients with no improvement of QoL (EuroQoL score change < 10 points); (2) Group 2 included patients with QoL improvement (increase in EuroQoL score ≥ 10 points). At baseline, the 2 groups were similar in age, gender, cardiovascular risk factors, CBF response to ADO and to CPT, SAQ and EuroQoL scores. At follow-up the 2 groups differed only for beta blockers use (27% vs. 88% in group 1 and 2, respectively; p < 0.001). A significant improvement in SAQ score was observed only in group 2. CBF response to both ADO and CPT showed a similar improvement in the 2 groups. No relation was found between changes in coronary microvascular function and in angina status. In MVA patients beta-blockers are more effective than other anti-ischemic drugs in improving angina symptoms. The improvement of angina status does not seem to be mediated by changes in coronary microvascular function.
    European review for medical and pharmacological sciences 02/2014; 18(3):374-9. · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated whether children with a previous Kawasaki disease (KD) have evidence of abnormal vascular and/or platelet function. We included 14 patients with previous KD and 14 matched controls. We assessed endothelial function by flow-mediated dilation (FMD), carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), coronary microvascular function by coronary blood flow response (CBFR) to cold pressor test, and platelet reactivity by measuring monocyte-platelet aggregates (MPAs) and CD41-platelet expression by flow cytometry. No differences were found between the groups in FMD, cIMT, or CBFR to cold pressor test. The MPAs were similar in patients with KD and controls. CD41-platelet expression, however, was significantly increased in patients with KD compared with controls, both at rest (14.3 ± 1.9 vs 12.4 ± 1.9 mean fluorescence intensity [mfi], P = .01) and after adenosine diphosphate stimulation (19.3 ± 1.3 vs 17 ± 1.7 mfi, P < .001). In conclusion, children with a previous episode of KD showed increased platelet activation, compared with healthy participants despite no apparent vascular abnormality at follow-up.
    Angiology 09/2013; · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A wide QRS with left bundle branch block pattern is usually required for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. However, ∼30% of patients do not benefit from CRT. We evaluated whether a detailed analysis of QRS complex can improve prediction of CRT success.METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied 51 patients (67.3 + 9.5 years, 36 males) with classical indication to CRT. Twelve-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) (50 mm/s, 0.05 mV/mm) was obtained before and 3 months after CRT. The following ECG intervals were measured in leads V1 and V6: (i) total QRS duration; (ii) QRS onset-R wave peak; (iii) R wave peak-S wave peak (RS-V1 and RS-V6); (iv) S wave peak-QRS end; and (v) difference between QR in V6 and in V1. Patients were considered as responder when left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) increased by ≥5% and New York Heart Association class by ≥1 after 3 months of CRT. Of ECG intervals, only basal RS-V1 was longer in responders (n = 36) compared with non-responders (52.9 ± 11.8 vs. 44.0 ± 12.6 ms, P = 0.021). Among patients with RS-V1 ≥45 ms 83% responded to CRT vs. 33% of those with RS-V1 < 45 ms (P < 0.001). RS-V1 ≥ 45 ms was independently associated with response to CRT in multivariable analysis (odds ratio 9.8; P = 0.002). A reduction of RS-V1 ≥ 10 ms by CRT also significantly predicted clinical response. RS-V1 shortening correlated with improvement in LVEF (r = -0.45; P < 0.001) and in MS (r = 0.46; P < 0.001).CONCLUSION: Our data point out that RS-V1 interval and its changes with CRT may help to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from CRT.
    Europace 06/2013; · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Study design:Case report.Objective:to report and discuss the development of sudden symptomatic sinus bradycardia in a 35-year-old woman with acute myelitis.Case report:A 35-year-old woman presented rapidly progressive weakness and hypoesthesia in the left hemibody. Five days after symptom onset, she developed symptomatic sinus bradycardia up to 30 b.p.m. Bradycardia was completely resolved ∼36 h after its onset.Results:Cervical spine magnetic resonance imaging showed a focal T2-hyperintense intramedullary lesion at C2 level, with moderate cord swelling. The lesion involved bilaterally dorsal funiculi, and left lateral and ventral funiculi. Cardiac I-123 metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy showed a decreased cardiac MIBG uptake suggesting sympathetic denervation.Conclusion:The most likely explanation for bradycardia in our patient is the myelitis-related disruption of descending vasomotor pathways, resulting in sympathetic hypoactivity. Our case extends the spectrum of the clinical presentations of cervical myelitis and emphasizes the importance of careful cardiac monitoring in acute phase of cervical myelitis.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 16 April 2013; doi:10.1038/sc.2013.30.
    Spinal Cord 04/2013; · 1.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with microvascular angina (MVA) often have persistence of symptoms despite full classical anti-ischemic therapy. In this study, we assessed the effect of ivabradine and ranolazine in MVA patients. We randomized 46 patients with stable MVA (effort angina, positive exercise stress test [EST], normal coronary angiography, coronary flow reserve <2.5), who had symptoms inadequately controlled by standard anti-ischemic therapy, to ivabradine (5 mg twice daily), ranolazine (375 mg twice daily), or placebo for 4 weeks. The Seattle Angina Questionnaire (SAQ), EuroQoL scale, and EST were assessed at baseline and after treatment. Coronary microvascular dilation in response to adenosine and to cold pressor test and peripheral endothelial function (by flow-mediated dilation) were also assessed. Both drugs improved SAQ items and EuroQoL scale compared with placebo (p <0.01 for all), with ranolazine showing some more significant effects compared with ivabradine, on some SAQ items and EuroQoL scale (p <0.05). Time to 1-mm ST-segment depression and EST duration were improved by ranolazine compared with placebo. No effects on coronary microvascular function and on flow-mediated dilation were observed with drugs or placebo. In conclusion, ranolazine and ivabradine may have a therapeutic role in MVA patients with inadequate control of symptoms in combination with usual anti-ischemic therapy.
    The American journal of cardiology 04/2013; · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: To assess the effects of short-acting nitrates on exercise stress test (EST) results and the relation between EST results and coronary blood flow (CBF) response to nitrates in patients with microvascular angina (MVA). METHODS: We completed 2 symptom/sign limited ESTs on 2 separate days, in a random sequence and in pharmacological washout, in 29 MVA patients and in 24 patients with obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD): one EST was performed without any intervention (control EST, C-EST), and the other after sublingual isosorbide dinitrate, 5 mg (nitrate EST, N-EST). CBF response to nitroglycerin (25 μg) was assessed in the left anterior descending coronary artery by transthoracic Doppler-echocardiography. RESULTS: At C-EST. ST-segment depression ≥1 mm (STD) was induced in 26 (90 %) and 23 (96 %) MVA and CAD patients, respectively (p = 0.42), whereas at N-EST, STD was induced in 25 (86 %) and 14 (56 %) MVA and CAD patients, respectively (p = 0.01). Time and rate pressure product at 1 mm STD increased during N-EST, compared to C-EST, in CAD patients (475 ± 115 vs. 365 ± 146 s, p < 0.001; and 23511 ± 4352 vs. 20583 ± 6234 bpm[Symbol: see text]mmHg, respectively, p = 0.01), but not in MVA patients (308 ± 160 vs. 284 ± 136 s; p = 0.19; and 21290 ± 5438 vs. 20818 ± 4286 bpm[Symbol: see text]mmHg, respectively, p = 0.35). In MVA patients, a significant correlation was found between heart rate at STD during N-EST and CBF response to nitroglycerin (r = 0.40, p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Short-acting nitrates improve EST results in CAD, but not in MVA patients. In MVA patients a lower nitrate-dependent coronary microvascular dilation may contribute to the lack of effects of nitrates on EST results.
    Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy 01/2013; · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: The aim of our study was to assess the prognostic value of heart rate variability (HRV) in ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients treated by percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) and optimal medical therapy. Methods: We enrolled 182 consecutive patients with a first STEMI (59.1 ± 11 years; 82.4% men) treated by primary PTCA. HRV was assessed on 24-hour Holter ECG recordings before discharge and 1 and 6 months after discharge. The primary end point was the occurrence of major clinical events (MCE), defined as death or new acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Results: At a follow-up of 42 ± 23 months, MCE occurred in 14 patients (7.6%; 3 deaths and 11 re-AMIs). HRV parameters before discharge were significantly lower in patients with MCE, with standard deviation of all RR intervals (SDNN) and very low frequency and low frequency (LF) amplitude being the most predictive variables. HRV assessed at follow-up instead did not significantly predict MCE. At multivariate analysis, only SDNN (HR 0.97; p = 0.02) and LF (HR 0.90; p = 0.04) remained significantly associated with MCE. Lower tertile SDNN and LF values were associated with a multivariate HR of 3.91 (p = 0.015) and of 2.92 (p = 0.048), respectively. Similar results were observed considering re-AMI only as the end point. Conclusions: In STEMI patients treated by PTCA, HRV assessed before discharge was an independent predictor of MCE and re-AMI.
    Cardiology 01/2013; 124(1):63-70. · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A growing amount of data is increasingly showing the relevance of coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMVD) in several clinical contexts. This article reviews techniques and clinical investigations of the main noninvasive and invasive methods proposed to study coronary microcirculation and to identify CMVD in the presence of normal coronary arteries, also trying to provide indications for their application in clinical practice.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 01/2013; 14(1):1-18. · 1.41 Impact Factor
  • A Di Monaco, A Sestito
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    ABSTRACT: Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is a major cause of death in Western Countries and accounts for very high costs worldwide. In this review we discussed the pathogenesis, symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis and management of chronic IHD. In particular, we discussed about the percutaneous coronary interventions and coronary artery bypass grafting, as well as to clinical trials that evaluated the advantages of one approach versus another. Pharmacological treatment is among major objectives of the review and for each class of therapeutic agents an evaluation of well-conducted clinical trials is provided. The most important drug classes in IHD treatment are betablockers, calcium channel blockers, nitrates, antiplatelet agents, and ACE-inhibitors. In addition to these agents, also new treatment options are evaluated in patients with stable IHD. Ranolazine, in particular, is a innovative anti-anginal drug with a great successful in the management of patients with refractory angina. A pharmacological as well as clinical profile of this drug is provided.
    European review for medical and pharmacological sciences 11/2012; 16(12):1611-36. · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of ranolazine on systemic vascular function in patients with type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM). METHODS: We randomized 30 consecutive T2DM patients with no evidence of cardiovascular disease and no insulin therapy to receive one of the following 3 forms of treatment in a blinded fashion: ranolazine, 375 mg bid for 3 weeks (group 1); ranolazine, 375 mg bid for 2 weeks, followed by placebo bid for 1 week (group 2); placebo bid for 3 weeks (group 3). Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and nitrate-mediated dilation (NMD) of the right brachial artery were assessed at baseline and after 48 h, and 2 and 3 weeks. RESULTS: FMD and NMD were similar among groups at baseline. Compared to the basal value, FMD significantly improved after 2 weeks in group 1 and in group 2 (p < 0.01 for both), but not in group 3. At 3 weeks, FMD remained improved, compared to baseline, in group 1 (p < 0.05), whereas returned to basal values in group 2 (p = 0.89 vs. baseline). No changes in NMD were observed in any group. CONCLUSIONS: In this controlled study, ranolazine was able to improve endothelial function in T2DM patients.
    Atherosclerosis 10/2012; · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endothelial dysfunction can predict cardiovascular outcomes in several populations of patients. The aim of this study was to assess the severity, time course, and clinical implications of endothelial dysfunction in patients with non-ST-segment elevation (NSTE) acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Sixty patients with NSTE ACS (mean age 62 ± 8 years, 44 men) and 40 controls with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) (mean age 63 ± 10 years, 27 men) were studied. In patients with NSTE ACS and in those with stable CAD, endothelial function was assessed <12 hours after admission and at 3-month follow-up by measuring right brachial artery dilation after 5 minutes of forearm ischemia (flow-mediated dilation [FMD]). Clinical outcomes were assessed after a median follow-up period of 32 months (range 14 to 36). The primary end point was a combination of cardiac death or readmission for new ACS or recurrence of angina pectoris. FMD on admission was significantly lower in patients with NSTE ACS compared to those with stable CAD (2.1 ± 1.2% vs 4.8 ± 1.9%, p <0.001). FMD improved significantly at 3-month follow-up in patients with NSTE ACS, becoming comparable to that in patients with stable CAD (5.7 ± 2.6% vs 5.5 ± 1.7%, p = 0.93). During follow-up, 14 cardiac events (23%) occurred in patients with NSTE ACS. On multivariate analysis, only diabetes (hazard ratio 18.1, 95% confidence interval 3.9 to 83.9, p <0.001) and FMD at 3 months (hazard ratio 0.78, 95% confidence interval 0.61 to 0.99, p = 0.04) were independent predictors of the primary end point in patients with NSTE ACS. In conclusion, endothelial function is markedly impaired in the acute phase of NSTE ACS but improves significantly at 3-month follow-up. In patients with NSTE ACS, FMD at 3 months after the acute event is a significant independent predictor of cardiac outcomes.
    The American journal of cardiology 10/2012; · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: We assessed whether exercise stress test (EST) results are related to the presence of coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMVD) in patients undergoing elective percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). BACKGROUND: Previous studies showed that EST is poorly reliable in predicting restenosis after PCI; some studies also showed CMVD in the territory of the treated vessel. METHODS: We studied 29 patients (age 64±6, 23 M) with stable coronary artery disease and isolated stenosis (>75%) of the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery, undergoing successful PCI with stent implantation. EST and assessment of coronary microvascular function were performed 24h, 3months and 6months after PCI. Coronary blood flow (CBF) response to adenosine and to cold-pressor test (CPT) was assessed in the LAD coronary artery by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography. RESULTS: Patients with ST-segment depression ≥1mm at EST performed 24h after PCI (n=11, 38%) showed a lower CBF response to adenosine compared to those with negative EST (1.65±0.4 vs. 2.11±0.4, respectively, p=0.003), whereas the difference in CBF response to CPT was not significant (1.44±0.4 vs. 1.64±0.3, respectively; p=0.11). At 3-month and 6-month follow-up a positive EST was found in 12 (41%) and 13 (44%) patients, respectively; patients with positive EST also had lower CBF response to adenosine compared to those with negative EST (3months: 1.69±0.3 vs. 2.20±0.3, respectively; 6months: 1.66±0.2 vs. 2.32±0.3, respectively; p<0.001 for both). CONCLUSIONS: Positive EST after elective successful PCI consistently reflects impairment of hyperemic CBF due to CMVD, which persists over a follow-up period of 6months.
    International journal of cardiology 10/2012; · 6.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ST-segment depression during exercise stress testing in asymptomatic subjects showing normal coronary arteries is considered a "false-positive" result. Coronary microvascular dysfunction, however, might be a possible cause of ST-segment depression in these cases. We assessed the coronary blood flow response to adenosine and to cold pressor test in the left anterior descending artery, using transthoracic Doppler echocardiography in 14 asymptomatic subjects with exercise-induced ST-segment depression and normal coronary arteries (group 1), 14 patients with microvascular angina (group 2), and 14 healthy subjects (group 3). Flow-mediated dilation was assessed in the brachial artery. Central pain processing was assessed using cortical laser evoked potentials during chest and right hand stimulation with 3 sequences of painful stimuli. The coronary blood flow response to adenosine was 1.8 ± 0.4, 1.9 ± 0.5, and 3.1 ± 0.9 in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (p <0.001). The corresponding coronary blood flow responses to the cold pressor test were 1.74 ± 0.4, 1.53 ± 0.3, and 2.3 ± 0.6 (p <0.001). The flow-mediated dilation was 5.5 ± 2.3%, 4.6 ± 2.4%, and 9.8 ± 1.2% in the 3 groups, respectively (p <0.001). The laser evoked potential N2/P2 wave amplitude decreased throughout the 3 sequences of stimulation in groups 1 and 3 but not in group 2 (chest, -19 ± 22%, +11 ± 42% and -36 ± 12%, p <0.001; right hand, -22 ± 25%, +12 ± 43% and -30 ± 20%, p = 0.009; in groups 1, 2, and 3). In conclusion, exercise stress test-induced ST-segment depression in asymptomatic subjects with normal coronary arteries cannot be considered as a simple false-positive result, because it can be related to coronary microvascular dysfunction. The different symptomatic state compared to patients with microvascular angina can, at least in part, be explained by differences in cortical processing of neural pain stimuli.
    The American journal of cardiology 03/2012; 109(12):1705-10. · 3.58 Impact Factor
  • A Sestito, E Molina
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    ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent cardiac rhythm disturbance, with prevalence increasing with age. This disease is a major risk factor for ischaemic stroke. The costs resulting from atrial fibrillation are really impressive. Pharmacological agents are the first line therapy for the management of atrial fibrillation. Antiarrhythmic drugs are used to terminate arrhythmias, as acute treatment for conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation, and to maintain sinus rhythm, as chronic therapy for prevention of atrial fibrillation recurrences. Among antiarrhythmic agents, drugs that inhibit early sodium current (as propafenone) are proven effective in atrial fibrillation. In this review, the most relevant data on propafenone are provided. The development of a sustained-release formulation of propafenone allowed to reduce the wide fluctuations in plasma levels observed with the immediate release preparation, improving compliance and adherence to therapy, by simplifying the dosing regimen from 3 to 2 daily doses. Propafenone resulted an effective measure as acute treatment for conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation, and to maintain sinus rhythm, as chronic therapy for prevention of atrial fibrillation recurrences. In several clinical studies, strong increases of arrhythmia-free periods as well as marked increases in time to recurrence of symptomatic atrial fibrillation, such as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation were observed. In particular, well-designed clinical studies demonstrated in large patient populations the efficacy of propafenone at several doses. At the suggested doses propafenone is usually well tolerated. The risk of increased occurrence of regular supraventricular arrhythmia or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia has been overestimated for propafenone, because this adverse event was seen in all treatment groups, including placebo, with the same (and low) frequency.
    European review for medical and pharmacological sciences 02/2012; 16(2):242-53. · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    A Sestito
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: Arterial hypertension and its pharmacological control are discussed in view of the high cardiovascular risk due to lack of target blood pressure achievement. It is, therefore, underlined the need for a highly effective therapy, able to provide protection from organ damage through a marked antihypertensive activity. In addition to this basic property, also compliance of the patient to therapy is needed, in order to avoid that the effects of therapeutic measures should result fruitless. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: An answer to this problem appears now offered by a recent class of antihypertensive agents, the angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). Among them valsartan has been described, providing an overview of methodologically adequate clinical studies, evaluating the efficacy, even at long-term, and safety. Valsartan has been compared with other antihypertensive agents of proven efficacy, mainly amlodipine, showing a better clinical profile. A wide room was finally left to the problem of adherence to therapy, whose lack is associated very frequently with marked increases in cardiovascular risk, due to absent or insufficient blood pressure control. This implies significant increases of health costs, as documented in numerous Countries, mainly following the higher need for hospitalization. On the other hand, it is also well documented the pharmacoeconomic benefit associated to ARBs use, particularly with valsartan.
    European review for medical and pharmacological sciences 11/2011; 15(11):1247-55. · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endothelial dysfunction, reduced coronary flow reserve and increased markers of inflammation are detectable in cardiac syndrome X (CSX). In this study we investigated the relation between inflammation and systemic endothelial function in CSX patients. We studied 42 CSX patients (55 +/- 6 years, 14 men) and 20 healthy subjects (52 +/- 7 years, 9 men). Systemic endothelial function was assessed by flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery after 5-minute of forearm cuff inflation. Serum C-reactive protein (CRP) was measured by a high-sensitivity method. FMD was significantly lower in CSX patients compared to controls (4.8 +/- 4.4 vs. 13.7 +/- 4%, p < 0.001), whereas CRP levels were higher in CSX patients than in controls (2.7 +/- 2.4 vs. 0.7 +/- 0.4 mg/L, p = 0.001). In CSX patients FMD showed a significant inverse correlation with CRP levels, even after adjustment for potentially confounding variables (r = -0.34, p = 0.006). An impaired FMD is detectable in CSX patients, suggesting a generalized abnormality in vascular function. Subclinical inflammation se is to play a significant role in the impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilator function of these patients.
    European review for medical and pharmacological sciences 09/2011; 15(9):1074-7. · 0.99 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology 06/2011; 122. · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess whether platelet reactivity is increased in offspring of patients with early acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and its possible relation with endothelial dysfunction. We studied 23 healthy children (15±3 years, 13 males) of patients with early AMI (≤50 years old; Group 1) and 21 healthy children of healthy subjects without any history of cardiovascular disease (14±3 years, 10 males; Group 2). Platelet reactivity was assessed by flow cytometry as the increase in monocyte-platelet aggregates (MPA) and CD41 and PAC-1 platelet expression in response to exercise stress test (EST), adenosine diphosphate (ADP) stimulation (10(-7) M), or both. Endothelial function was assessed by measuring brachial artery dilation during post-ischaemic forearm hyperaemia [flow-mediated dilation (FMD)]. Both EST and ADP induced a higher percentage increase in platelet receptor expression in Group 1, compared with Group 2, with the most significant difference being shown for the response to the combined stimuli (e.g. MPA, 23.1±12 vs. 5.63±8%, P<0.001; platelet PAC-1, 57.7±47 vs. 13.2±7%, P<0.001). Compared with Group 2, Group 1 children showed lower FMD (10.7±3.1 vs. 8.0±2.9%, respectively; P=0.007). However, no significant association was found between FMD and platelet reactivity. Our results show increased platelet reactivity in children of patients with early AMI; the finding was not significantly correlated with endothelial dysfunction, suggesting that other mechanisms are mainly involved in the enhanced platelet response to agonistic stimuli.
    European Heart Journal 05/2011; 32(16):2042-9. · 14.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 30-40% of patients with acute ischaemic stroke, the cause remains undefined (cryptogenic stroke). Contrast transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is considered the gold standard for patent foramen ovale (PFO) detection. Recently, however, cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) has also been applied to detect PFO. In this study, we compared the diagnostic value of CMR and TEE in detecting PFO in a group of patients with apparently cryptogenic stroke. Twenty-five patients (age 50 ± 13 years, 16 males) with apparently cryptogenic ischaemic stroke underwent contrast-enhanced TEE and contrast CMR for detection of possible PFO. Both imaging studies were performed during Valsalva manoeuvre. PFO grading results were assessed visually both for TEE and for CMR, according to the entity of contrast passage in the left atrium (grade 0 = no PFO; grades 1, 2, and 3 = mild, medium, and wide PFO, respectively). TEE detected PFO in 16 patients (64%). Contrast-enhanced CMR identified a PFO in 7 (44%) of these patients. TEE showed a grade 1 PFO in five patients, a grade 2 PFO in eight patients, and a grade 3 PFO in three patients. Of these patients, CMR failed to identify PFO in all five patients with a grade 1 PFO, in one patient with a grade 2 PFO, and one patient with grade 3 PFO according to TEE. None of the nine patients without PFO at TEE was shown to have a PFO at CMR. When compared with TEE, the present methodology of CMR had a sensitivity of 50%, specificity of 100%, negative predictive value of 31%, and a positive predictive value of 100%. Our data suggest that TEE is the cornerstone imaging diagnostic test to detect and characterize PFO in patients with ischaemic stroke, and is shown to be better compared with the current CMR sequences.
    European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Imaging 12/2010; 12(3):222-7. · 2.65 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

765 Citations
451.36 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2013
    • Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
      • Institute of Cardiology
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2002–2009
    • The Catholic University of America
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2005
    • Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù
      • Division of Neurology
      Roma, Latium, Italy