[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of contrast transesophageal echocardiography (cTEE) in the diagnostic characterization of acute aortic syndromes (AAS) [aortic dissection, intramural hematoma, penetrating ulcer]. We enrolled 66 non-consecutive patients with clinical suspicion of AAS. Standard transesophageal echocardiography and cTEE were performed prior to gated-CT angiography, which has been assumed as reference standard. cTEE was obtained with a single bolus of contrast agent injection. The definitive diagnosis of AAS was made in 48 patients by gated-CT angiography: 22 aortic dissections, 15 intramural hematomas and 11 penetrating aortic ulcers. Standard TEE and cTEE correctly diagnosed AAS in 87 and 100 % (P = 0.03) cases respectively. Standard TEE correctly diagnosed aortic dissection in 20/22 (91 %) and cTEE in 22/22 (100 %) (P = 0.5) cases. cTEE was superior than standard TEE in the visualization of false lumen entry tear (22/22 vs. 16/22, P = 0.03). Standard TEE correctly diagnosed intramural hematoma in 11/15 and cTEE 15/15 (P = 0.12) cases. Microtears were identified in 3 patients by cTEE an in 1 patient by standard TEE (P = 0.4). The presence of focal contrast enhancement was identified in 4 and 0 patients by cTEE and standard TEE respectively (P = 0.06). Both standard and cTEE correctly diagnosed penetrating aortic ulcer in 11/11 (100 %) (P = 1.0) cases. cTEE provides additional value over standard TEE in the diagnosis and in the anatomic and functional characterization of AAS.
The international journal of cardiovascular imaging 09/2013; · 2.15 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of studies have reported an increase in radiation sensitivity of pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators. The type, severity and extent of radiation damage to these devices depend on the total dose and rate. We report the case of a 70-year-old male patient with non-small cell lung cancer presenting as a sub-carinal paraesophageal lesion, and a history of dilated cardiomyopathy and cardioverter-defibrillator implantation. The decision of a multidisciplinary meeting was to keep the device in place and deliver radiotherapy using an intensity-modulated radiation therapy technique by means of helical tomotherapy. The radiotherapy was well tolerated and consistent device interrogation revealed no malfunction. Innovative irradiation techniques have made radiotherapy feasible despite the presence of technological sophistications of pacemakers and cardioverter defibrillators that have potentially changed the tolerance profiles.
Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 06/2013; · 2.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the case of a young pregnant woman with moderate mitral regurgitation who was admitted to our department for dyspnea. The patient was treated with low-dose diuretic therapy and ventilatory support. At follow-up echocardiographic evaluation, a progressive improvement of mitral regurgitation and pulmonary artery pressure was observed. The most significant hemodynamic changes occurring during pregnancy are reviewed and discussed in the setting of associated mitral regurgitation.
Giornale italiano di cardiologia (2006) 02/2013; 14(2):135-7.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prognostic role of tricuspid regurgitation (TR) associated with organic left-sided valvular heart disease is well known. However, no data are available regarding the prognostic value of functional TR (FTR) in patients with functional mitral regurgitation (FMR) and left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prognostic role of FTR for occurrence of heart failure (HF) and mortality in patients with FMR.
We enrolled 373 consecutive patients (mean age 68±11 years) with LV dysfunction and at least mild FMR and with or without FTR, both quantitated by echocardiography. The median follow-up was 32 months (range 1-120 months); 132 (35.4%) and 97 patients developed HF or died, respectively. The incidence of HF at 3 and 6 years was 36±2% and 55±4%, respectively. Moderate to severe FTR [hazard ratio (HR) 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-2.1, P = 0.01) was an independent determinant of HF. The incidence of HF was 41±5, 46±7, 57±7, and 65±8% for patients without, and with mild, moderate, and severe FTR respectively (P = 0.03). At 3 and 6 years the survival free of all-cause mortality was 77.5±2% and 60±3%, respectively. Moderate to severe FTR (HR 1.6, 95% CI 1.2-2.1, P = 0.01) was an independent determinant of overall mortality. At 6 years, survival free of all-cause mortality was 69±2.5, 67±2.1, 51±2.5, and 40±4.8% for patients without, and with mild, moderate, and severe FTR, respectively (P = 0.004).
Moderate or more FTR is independently associated with worse survival and a high incidence of HF episodes in patients with FMR.
European Journal of Heart Failure 05/2012; 14(8):902-8. · 5.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the prognostic impact of a moderate degree of ischemic mitral regurgitation (IMR) is well known, there are no data regarding the potential role of a mild degree of IMR. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a mild degree (effective regurgitant orifice area < 20 mm(2)) of IMR on left ventricular (LV) remodeling and heart failure (HF).
A retrospective study was conducted in 35 patients with mild IMR that were propensity matched with 35 patients without IMR (controls). The population was evaluated between 3 and 6 months after first myocardial infarction and at 6 and 12 months, measuring LV volumes, ejection fraction, and the degree of mitral regurgitation. HF events requiring hospitalization were recorded.
The two groups were similar at baseline. During follow-up, patients with IMR showed significant increases in LV end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes and no change in ejection fractions, whereas controls did not show significant changes in volumes but did show increases in ejection fractions. Patients with IMR showed significantly higher end-systolic volumes at 6 months (P = .003) and 12 months (P = .007) and significantly higher end-diastolic volumes at 6 months (P = .048) and 12 months (P = .03) and lower ejection fractions at 6 months (P = .0001) and 12 months (P = .002) compared with controls. Patients with IMR experienced a significantly higher incidence of HF than controls (62% vs 23%, P = .001). At 6 months, in six patients mitral regurgitation degree changed from mild to moderate, and in one patient from mild to severe. Interestingly, 71.5% of patients who experienced increases in mitral regurgitation degree had no coronary revascularization (P = .04).
Mild IMR affects the LV remodeling process, increases its degree over time, and determines a higher rate of HF.
Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography: official publication of the American Society of Echocardiography 12/2011; 24(12):1376-82. · 2.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac stem cell therapy is a field of scientific research with the goal to translate into clinical benefit the initial findings obtained in basic research laboratories. We have moved into clinical trials in different disease categories: acute myocardial infarction, chronic stable angina refractory to conventional therapy and heart failure. So far we have faced with contradictory results. Some previous studies suggested that bone marrow cell injection may improve myocardial perfusion and left ventricular function in patients with chronic myocardial ischemia.
In this paper we present a brief review about stem cell use in clinical cardiology and describe our research protocol evaluating the effects of direct intramyocardial injection of autologous bone marrow cells (CD34+ selected cells versus all mononuclear cells) in patients with chronic myocardial ischemia.
Preliminary results show that this procedure seems to be safe and generally well tolerated by patients. An improvement in symptoms, in the first 6 months, appears to be achieved in approximately 50% of patients, with concomitant improvement of quantitative scintigraphic stress test imaging.
Before drawing any definitive conclusions, we need to wait for the end of enrollment and unblinding of study randomization.
Giornale italiano di cardiologia (2006) 03/2011; 12(3):198-211.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess long-term prognosis in patients with functional mitral regurgitation (FMR) and left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, receiving current standard pharmacological therapy.
We prospectively enrolled 404 consecutive patients (mean age 70.2 +/- 10 years) with ischaemic (76.5%) and non-ischaemic (23.5%) LV dysfunction (ejection fraction 34.4 +/- 10.8%) and at least mild MR. Results are reported at 4 years' follow-up. Survival free of all-cause mortality was 53% and cardiac death was 74%. Survival free of all-cause mortality was 50% (95% CI 35-72) for patients with moderate MR, 49% (95% CI 27-65) for severe MR, and 64% (95% CI 47-78) for mild MR (P = 0.03). Survival free of cardiac death was 57% (95% CI 38-74) for patients with moderate MR, 55% (95% CI 30-77) for severe MR, and 94% (95% CI 59-98) for mild MR (P = 0.003). Moderate-to-severe MR [relative risk (RR) 2.7, 95% CI 1.2-6.1, P = 0.003] was an independent predictor of cardiac death but not of all-cause mortality. Survival free of heart failure (HF) was 32%. Survival free of HF was 20% (95% CI 17-35) for patients with moderate MR, 18% (95% CI 15-32) for severe MR, and 62% (95% CI 45-72) for mild MR (P = 0.0001). Moderate-to-severe MR (RR 3.2, 95% CI 1.9-5.2, P = 0.0001) was an independent predictor of HF.
The mortality and morbidity of patients with LV dysfunction and FMR remain high despite current standard pharmacological therapy. Moderate-to-severe MR is an independent predictor of cardiac death and HF.
European Journal of Heart Failure 05/2009; 11(6):581-7. · 5.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the feasibility of mitral valve (MV) reconstruction protocol by real-time 3D echocardiography (RT3DE) in the assessment mitral regurgitant (MR) lesions, and to determine the accuracy of RT3DE compared with transthoracic (TTE) and transesophageal (TEE) echocardiographies using surgical findings as gold standard.
Sixty-three consecutive patients (mean age 61.7+/-12.5 years, 35 men and 28 women) with severe organic MR were enrolled. Data were acquired in zoom and in full-volume modes from apical and/or parasternal windows. A volume rendered en-face view of MV and five serial longitudinal cut planes were reconstructed to visualize all segments of both leaflets.
The feasibility of RT3D reconstruction was 94%. Compared with surgical diagnosis, the accuracy of RT3D was 91% for aetiology, 92% for mechanisms, 94% for prolapse, 88% for flail and 94% for defect location. Diagnostic accuracy was significant higher for RT3D than TTE for all end points except for flail lesion and similar to TEE but inferior to this for flail lesion. The accuracy, sensitivity and specificity were higher in patients with good-excellent than those with poor image quality regarding aetiology, mechanisms and defect location (all p=0.0001).
RT3D imaging of MV is feasible and accurate in defining aetiology, mechanism and defect location in patients with MR and has incremental diagnostic value if TTE is inconclusive and similar diagnostic value of TEE except for flail lesion. RT3D, at least in patients with good acoustic window, may obviate the need for subsequent TEE and/or can be considered a complementary technique to study MV in patients with MR.
International journal of cardiology 08/2008; 127(3):342-9. · 7.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic ischemic mitral regurgitation (IMR) is a common complication of myocardial infarction and severely affects cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Multiple pathophysiologic mechanisms, such as left ventricular (LV) remodeling and dysfunction, annular dilation/dysfunction, and mechanical dyssynchrony, are involved in generating IMR, each of them having different weight. However, the prerequisite to initially creating regurgitation is the presence of local or global LV remodeling that alters the geometrical relationship between the ventricle and valve apparatus. In the wide spectrum of patients with chronic IMR, the assessment of some echocardiographic parameters, such as tethering pattern, leaflet motion, origin and direction of the regurgitant jets, allows one to identify different specific subgroups of patients subjected to different therapeutic approaches. The aim of medical and/or surgical therapy is to ameliorate heart failure symptoms, and improve LV remodeling and function and the intermediate/long-term outcome. The targets of surgical MV repair involve annulus, leaflets, chordae and ventricles. The restricted annuloplasty is the most commonly adopted surgical procedure that improves heart failure symptoms but not survival when compared to medical therapy and is also subject to a high incidence of late failure (approximately 30%). There are some preoperative echocardiographic predictors of failure that include valve (degree of valve remodeling, jet characteristics), ventricular (degree of remodeling, diastolic dysfunction) and surgical factors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluate, in 37 consecutive patients (mean age 67+/-9 years) with functional mitral regurgitation (FMR), several rest and stress echocardiographic predictors of outcome. Rest end-systolic volume, peak stress end-diastolic volume and effective regurgitant orifice were independent predictors of death at 25 months follow-up. Therefore, rest and stress echocardiographic evaluation of patients with FMR provides strong prognostic information.
International journal of cardiology 03/2008; 124(2):247-9. · 7.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ultrasound lung comet images (ULC) are useful for the noninvasive assessment of extravascular lung water (EVLW). We investigated the modification of EVLW, its relation to indices of left ventricular systolic and diastolic function, and noninvasively determined pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) (PCWP = 1.24 ratio of early diastolic mitral inflow velocity to early diastolic velocity of the mitral annulus [E/Em] + 1.9) at rest and its variation during exercise echocardiography. A total of 72 patients (mean age 66.4 +/- 8.4 years) with mean ejection fraction of 41.2 +/- 14.4% underwent symptoms-limited exercise echocardiography. The sum of the ULC yielded a score of EVLW. The ULC increased significantly from baseline to postexercise (5.9 +/- 14.9 vs 11 +/- 20.7, P = .0001). Positive linear correlations were found between baseline ULC score and baseline ejection fraction (r = -0.37, P = .002), systolic pulmonary artery pressure (r = 0.69, P = .0001), E/Em (r = 0.70, P = .0001), and estimated PCWP (r = 0.69, P = .0001). The variation between postexercise and baseline ULC score correlated significantly with the variation between peak stress and rest PCWP (r = 0.62, P = .0001), systolic pulmonary artery pressure (r = 0.44, P = .0001), wall-motion score index (r = 0.30, P = .01), and peak stress E/Em (r = 0.71, P = .0001), whereas no significant correlations were found between variations of ULC score and ejection fraction. This study shows that ULC represents a simple way to assess the presence of excess EVLW. Increased EVLW is associated with estimated PCWP and indices of left ventricular systolic and diastolic dysfunction. The additional exercise-induced increase of PCWP, the worsening of left ventricular diastolic function, and extensive wall-motion abnormalities correlate with variations of EVLW.
Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography: official publication of the American Society of Echocardiography 05/2006; 19(4):457-63. · 2.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Doppler of mitral and pulmonary vein flows are used to estimate left ventricular (LV) filling pressure. Mitral regurgitation (MR) makes unreliable these parameters by inducing changes of both mitral inflow and pulmonary vein flow.
To evaluate whether Doppler tissue imaging (DTI) diastolic indices obtained at the level of LV lateral mitral annulus can provide accurate estimation of LV filling pressure in patients with MR.
Forty-three patients (age 55 +/- 11 years) with severe MR and mean LV ejection fraction (EF) 58 +/- 13 were enrolled, 10 (23%) with LV EF < 50% and 33 (77%) with LV EF > 50%. Doppler signals from the mitral inflow, pulmonary venous flow, and DTI indices of the lateral mitral annulus were obtained. LV end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) was measured invasively with fluid-filled catheter.
In the overall population, the majority of standard Doppler and DTI indices correlated with LVEDP, but the multivariate analysis showed that the ratio of mitral velocity to early diastolic velocity of the mitral annulus (E/Em ratio) (beta = .87, P = .0001) was independent predictor of LVEDP (R2 = 0.74, SE = 4, P = .0001). An E/Em ratio > 10 predicted an LVEDP > 15 mm Hg (sensitivity 90%, specificity 83%). In both groups with LV EF > 50% (beta = .77, P = .005; cumulative R2 = 0.73, SE = 2.5, P = .0001) and < 50% (beta = .89, P = .002; cumulative R2 = 0.77, SE = 2.1, P = .002), multivariate analysis underscored again only E/Em ratio as independent predictor of LVEDP.
The combination of DTI indices of the mitral annulus and mitral inflow velocities provides reliable parameters to predict LV filling pressure in patients with MR both in patients with LV EF > 50% and < 50%.
American heart journal 09/2005; 150(3):610-5. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Echographic examination of the lung surface may reveal multiple "comet-tail images" originating from water-thickened interlobular septa. These images could be useful for noninvasive assessment of interstitial pulmonary edema.
The purpose of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of lung comet-tail images compared with chest radiography, wedge pressure, and extravascular lung water (EVLW) quantified by the indicator dilution method (PiCCO System, version 4.1; Pulsion Medical Systems; Munich, Germany).
We enrolled 20 patients (mean age, 62.6 +/- 11.5 years [+/- SD]). Patients were studied before, immediately after, and 24 h following cardiac surgery with chest ultrasound, chest radiography, pulmonary artery catheterization, and the PiCCO system. Performing echo scanning (right and left hemithorax, from second to fourth intercostal space, from parasternal to midaxillary line), an individual patient comet score was obtained by summing the number of comets in each scanned space.
A total of 60 comparisons were obtained. Significant positive linear correlations were found between comet score and EVLW determined by the PiCCO System (r = 0.42, p = 0.001), between comet score and wedge pressure (r = 0.48, p = 0.01), and between comet score and radiologic lung water score (r = 0.60, p = 0.0001).
The presence and the number of comet-tail images provide reliable information on interstitial pulmonary edema. Therefore, ultrasonography represent an attractive, easy-to-use, bedside diagnostic tool for assessing cardiac function and pulmonary congestion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assessed whether the presence of latent myocardial dysfunction, evaluated by echocardiographic derived force-frequency relationship (FFR) during exercise, predicts the appearance of stress-induced pulmonary hypertension in minimally symptomatic patients with severe mitral regurgitation (MR). Two groups of patients were identified: group I with normal (</=40 mm Hg) and group II with abnormal (>40 mm Hg) peak stress systemic pulmonary artery pressure. Group I had normal and upsloping FFR and group II had abnormal flat or biphasic FFR. Therefore, in patients with severe MR and apparently normal left ventricular function, the stress-induced pulmonary hypertension seems to be related to the presence of latent left ventricular dysfunction.
The American Journal of Cardiology 03/2005; 95(3):414-7. · 3.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the mechanism of ischemic mitral regurgitation (MR) is understood, the echocardiographic picture of ischemic MR is not homogeneous. Ninety-two consecutive patients with chronic ischemic MR due to restricted motion were divided into two groups according to tethering pattern: the asymmetric group with predominant posterior tethering of both leaflets (54 patients) and the symmetric one with predominant apical tethering of both leaflets (38 patients). The mitral deformation indexes, LV global (volume, function and sphericity) and local (papillary muscle displacements and regional wall motion score index) remodeling were evaluated. All indexes of global LV remodeling were significantly higher in the symmetric than asymmetric group (all p < 0.0001), such as the posterior and lateral displacement of the anterior papillary muscle (both p < 0.04), the papillary muscle separation and the anterior papillary muscle wall motion index (both p < 0.0001). The origin as well as the direction of the jet was central in all patients of the symmetric group. In the asymmetric one the origin was central in 78% of the cases and arising from the medial commissure in 22% whereas the jet direction was posterior and central in 83% and 17% of patients, respectively. Therefore, it is possible to distinguish at least two subgroups of patients with ischemic MR due to restricted motion on the basis of tethering pattern, different degree of local and global LV remodeling and characteristics of the regurgitant jet.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Echocardiography has the ability to noninvasively explore hemodynamic variables during pharmacologic or exercise stress test in patients with heart failure. In this review, we detail some important potential applications of stress echocardiography in patients with heart failure. In patients with coronary artery disease and chronic LV dysfunction, dobutamine stress echocardiography is able to distinguish between viable and fibrotic tissue to make adequate clinical decisions. Exercise testing, in combination with echocardiographic monitoring, is a method of obtaining accurate information in the assessment of functional capacity and prognosis. Functional mitral regurgitation is a common finding in patients with dilated and ischaemic cardiomyopathy and stress echocardiography in the form of exercise or pharmacologic protocols can be useful to evaluate the behaviour of mitral regurgitation. It is clinical useful to search the presence of contractile reserve in non ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy such as to screen or monitor the presence of latent myocardial dysfunction in patients who had exposure to cardiotoxic agents. Moreover, in patients with suspected diastolic heart failure and normal systolic function, exercise echocardiography could be able to demonstrate the existence of such dysfunction and determine that it is sufficient to limit exercise tolerance. Finally, in the aortic stenosis dobutamine echocardiography can distinguish severe from non-severe stenosis in patients with low transvalvular gradients and depressed left ventricular function.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transesophageal echocardiography has been widely used as a diagnostic tool during the past two decades to detect cardiac abnormalities that are not visible or poorly visible with transthoracic echocardiography. At present, transesophageal echocardiography is a cornerstone of modern diagnosis of several cardiac diseases, providing diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic information. In this review, the present status of transesophageal echocardiography not only as a diagnostic tool, underlining its effects on clinical decision making, but also as a monitoring adjunct for many interventional cardiac procedures is examined.
Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 02/2004; 2(1):61-75.