[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colonic lipomas (CL) are rare benign adipose tumours usually found incidentally during colonoscopy. Endoscopic resection of symptomatic large CL remains controversial, since significant rates of perforation have been reported. In recent years, a novel technique for removal of large CL has been described, consisting of looping and ligating the lipoma with a nylon snare. The aim of our study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the "loop and let go" technique for large colon lipomas in a large case series.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Croatian Consensus Conferences on Viral Hepatitis took place in 2005 and 2009. Considering the numerous novel concepts on the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of viral hepatitis (chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 in particular) that have emerged in the past four years, a new Croatian Consensus Conference on Viral Hepatitis was held in Zagreb on February 28, 2013. The abridged text of the Croatian Consensus Conference on Viral Hepatitis 2013 presents the new concepts on the epidemiology of viral hepatitis, serologic and molecular diagnosis of viral hepatitis, determination of the IL-28 gene promoter polymorphism, fibrosis grading, algorithm for patient diagnostic follow up, treatment of chronic hepatitis C (genotypes 1-6) and hepatitis B, treatment of special populations (children, dialysis patients, transplanted patients, individuals with HIV/HCV co-infection), and therapy side effects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infection with non-1 genotype in Croatia is detected in 41.2% of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Since the last treatment guidelines for hepatitis C patients, little has been changed. With today's standard of care, sustained viral response can be achieved in 43% to 85% of non-1 CHC patients, which is not satisfactory at all. The lowest cure rate is usually found among patients with genotype 3 and 4 infection. The grouping of genotype 2 and genotype 3 patients to "easy to treat" genotypes was an unfortunate consequence of their underrepresentation in previous large registration clinical trials. Careful re-examination of the data obtained shows clearly enough that patients with genotype 3 infection respond less to treatment than genotype 2 patients. They sometimes behave more like patients with genotype 1 infection. Small progress is found in treatment approach and viral kinetics might be a useful tool for tailoring therapy to improve efficacy. Rapid virologic response is the best parameter to predict success of therapy. For patients who achieve a rapid viral response, consideration of shortened therapy (< 24 weeks) may be reasonable although sustained viral response is still slightly higher with 24 weeks of therapy. Nevertheless, the presence of poor prognostic factors (high viral load, advanced fibrosis, obesity, increased age, insulin resistance and liver non-viral steatosis) may discourage a shortened course of therapy. Extending therapy (> 24 weeks) in patients who do not achieve a rapid viral response would be beneficial, particularly in patients with genotype 3 infection and poor prognostic factors, but formal recommendation should be confirmed in prospective trails. New data suggest a prognostic role for IL28B polymorphisms mostly in genotype 3 patients not achieving a rapid viral response and these could also be considered for improved tailoring of therapy. In conclusion, new treatments are urgently needed for non-1 genotype chronic hepatitis C patients. So far, telaprevir and boceprevir have failed to show a satisfactory activity in these genotypes. Evaluation of many promising molecules such as second generation of protease inhibitors or NS5B nucleos(t)ide inhibitors, NS5A inhibitors, cyclophilin inhibitors or their combinations with or without pegylated interferon or ribavirin is still in progress.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B infection (HBV) causes liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma that are indications for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The outcome of OLT depends on the prevention of HBV reinfection and disease relapses. Out of 692 liver transplantations performed at Merkur University Hospital, 30 were done for HBV infection. These patients were treated with HBIG post OLT and lamivudine, entecavir, adefovir, tenofovir prior and post OLT. All patients became HBsAg and HBV DNA negative but four of them became HbsAg positive one year post OLT. The patients survived for 2 months to 7 years post OLT. With the introduction of HBIG immunoprophylaxis and new efficient antiviral treatment, the risk of relapse is only < 10%, and survival is the same as in other indications for OLT. Because of the high cost and long-term treatment, efforts have been made to prevent recurrent HBV disease by using the schedules according to pre- and post-transplant HBV viremia and introducing the new potent antiviral analogue nucleos(t)ides.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) of the pancreas is a relatively rare clinical entity with a main characteristic being mucus production. Extension of IPMN along pancretic ducts and mucus production lead to ductal obstruction and dilatation, resulting in recurrent episodes of acute pancreatitis. Molecular background of IPMN-a comprises several aberrations, with the K-ras gene mutation being the likely trigger that initiates further genetic changes. Due to its indolent nature, IPMN is most commonly diagnosed in the 7th decade of life. Depending on the histology type, IPMN has a malignant potential. Therefore, surgical therapy remains a "gold standard" of treatment. Insidious, slow progression of the disease and absence of symptoms in a certain number of patients makes diagnostic approach to this entity difficult. In this paper we present a patient with IPMN of the pancreas, in whom the episodes of acute pancreatitis had been present for 22 years.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the well-established benefits of currently approved delayed-release proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in the treatment of acid-related diseases, the unmet needs are still present and although often frustrating, they challenge clinicians. The unmet needs relate to the lack of complete control of acid secretion with oral PPI administration in the management of patients with gastroesophageal symptoms. These substantial groups of patients, who do not respond completely to standard doses of PPIs, are nonresponders, and their lack of response should be considered as PPI failure. Several mechanisms could explain PPI failure: differences in pharmacokinetics, PPI formulation, dosing time and diet, noncompliance, transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations, esophageal hypersensitivity, and nocturnal acid breakthrough. To increase the quality of life of these patients and avoid multiple medical consultations and unnecessary investigations, we have to go one step forward and use combined therapy or look towards new treatments beyond acid suppression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The morphological and functional integrity of the liver is vital to human health in general as well as to patients with renal disease. Any chronic liver disease will eventually lead to liver insufficiency. Liver enzymes are routinely measured to assess liver function in patients with or without renal failure. The use of standard reference values of aminotransferases to help detect liver disease is less useful in patients on chronic dialysis therapy. Some investigators have suggested that, to increase the sensitivity of liver function tests among dialysis patients, lower "normal" values of aminotransferases should be adopted. Liver biopsy may be helpful for assessing the activity and severity of liver disease, especially in chronic viral liver diseases. The most widely used scores are Ishak (6-point scale) and METAVIR (4-point scale). The most important chronic liver diseases associated with chronic renal disease are hepatitis B and C. Several types of renal disease have been recognized: mixed cryoglobulinemia, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, membranous nephropathy and polyarteritis nodosa. In any patient first ever diagnosed with any of the mentioned features, serologic and molecular tests for hepatitis B and/or C should be done. There is limited information on the treatment of HBV-associated renal diseases. Nonrandomized studies suggest that antiviral therapy may be beneficial in patients with glomerular disease or vasculitis due to HBV. According to Croatian National Guidelines for Hepatitis B and C, treatment with antiviral drug is recommended for patients with chronic renal disease, especially those on the waiting list for kidney transplantation. Decision on the type and duration of treatment is based on the level of viremia and biochemical and histological activity of liver disease. Several antiviral drugs are currently used for hepatitis B: pegylated interferon alpha-2a and nucleot(z)id analogues. The choice of analogues is based on their genetic barrier and resistance. The probability to develop resistance is much higher in prolonged treatment, more than 1 year. To avoid it, regular check-ups are mandatory. First check-up is recommended after 12 weeks of treatment to detect the possible primary resistance to treatment. Similar approach is used in patients with hepatitis C. Today's standard of care is treatment with a combination of pegylated interferon alpha and ribavirin. Serum concentration of both drugs rises in patients with impaired renal function. The dosage should be corrected according to the glomerular filtration rate. Treatment with pegylated interferon alpha is not recommended in patients with glomerular filtration rate less than 15 mL/min and ribavirin less than 50 mL/min. Recent evidence suggest that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with an increased prevalence and incidence of chronic renal disease. Current treatment recommendations for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are limited to weight reduction and treatment of any component of the metabolic syndrome. Liver cirrhosis is the terminal stage of any chronic liver disease. Mortality differs according to the stage of cirrhosis evaluated with Child-Turcotte-Pugh score. The worst prognosis have patients with grade C cirrhosis, which should be borne in mind when evaluating patients with terminal renal disease for treatment with kidney transplantation.
Acta medica Croatica: c̆asopis Hravatske akademije medicinskih znanosti 01/2011; 65(4):349-53.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are the most common mesenchymal tumors in gastrointestinal tract. They are often asymptomatic and discovered incidentally during endoscopic or barium studies. About 80% GISTs have a KIT (CD 117 antigen) gene mutation. Most affect exon 11, less commonly exon 9,13 or 17, that results in uncontrolled KIT signaling. This led to effective systemic therapies in the form of small molecule inhibitors of the receptor tyrosine kinase such as imatinib mesylat. With the purpose of providing standardized approach to rational and effective diagnostic and treatment algorithm in Croatia, a multidisciplinary session was organized. Results of the session are given in the form of Consensus guidelines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using standard diagnostic algorithms it is not always possible to establish the correct phenotype of inflammatory bowel disease which is essential for therapeutical decisions. Endoscopic ultrasound elastography is a new endoscopic procedure which can differentiate the stiffness of normal and pathological tissue by ultrasound. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the role of transrectal ultrasound elastography in distiction between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
A total 30 Crohn's disease, 25 ulcerative colitis, and 28 non-inflammatory bowel disease controls were included. Transrectal ultrasound elastography was performed in all patients and controls. In all ulcerative coltis patients and 80% of Crohn's disease patients endoscopy was performed to assess disease activity in the rectum.
Significant difference in rectal wall thickness and strain ratio was detected between patients with Crohn's disease and controls (p = 0.0001). CD patients with active disease had higher strain ratio than patients in remission (p = 0.02). In ulcerative colitis group a significant difference in rectal wall thickness was found between controls and patients with active disease (p = 0.03). A significant difference in rectal wall thickness (p = 0.02) and strain ratio (p = 0.0001) was detected between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patient group. Crohn's disease patients with active disease had a significantly higher strain ratio compared to ulcerative colitis patients with active disease (p = 0.0001).
Transrectal ultrasound elastography seems to be a promising new diagnostic tool in the field of inflammatory bowel disease. Further study on a larger cohort of patients is needed to definitely assess the role of transrectal ultrasound elastography in inflammatory bowel disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a frequent complication among long-term dialysis patients. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and side effects of pegylated interferon-α(2a) (PEG-IFN-α(2a)) treatment in hemodialysis patients.
We retrospectively reviewed charts of 16 HCV-RNA-positive hemodialysis patients.
There were 11 male and 5 female patients treated with dialysis for 6-28 years. Twelve patients had HCV genotype 1b, 2 patients had 3a, and 1 patient had genotype 2a. Although only 10 out of 16 patients completed 48 weeks of treatment, early virological response and end-of-treatment virological response were achieved in 9 and 13 patients, respectively. Sustained virological response was recorded in 9 patients. The most common side effect was anemia. A flu-like syndrome was documented in 6, myalgia in 4, and arthralgia in 5 patients. Rectorrhagia, endocarditis and severe cough were recorded in 1 patient each. Nine patients received a renal transplant, and all 6 responders remained HCV-RNA-negative.
PEG-IFN-α(2a) has limited efficacy in dialysis patients. A significant proportion of patients discontinued treatment because of side effects. Additional studies with long-term follow-up are needed to determine the optimal treatment of HCV infection in the dialysis population.
Kidney and Blood Pressure Research 01/2011; 34(1):53-7. · 1.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PETs) are increasingly recognized. In order to assure an optimal treatment of patients and to propose an efficient diagnostic algorithm we were prompted to organize meetings, with participating experts, specialists in different fields of expertise. The idea for the meetings was to try to give a standardized approach, which would in future help in stratification of PET patients. Results of meetings are given in a form of Consensus guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic hepatitis B is associated with the development of cirrhosis in more than one third of patients and in a large proportion of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Current standard treatment includes pegylated interferon alfa-2a and five oral nucleoside/nucleotide analogues: entecavir, tenofovir, adefovir, telbivudine and lamivudine (listed according to antiviral efficacy). The advantage of interferon treatment is the possibility of long-term remission in one third of carefully selected HbeAg+ patients without development of resistance. However, interferon treatment is not efficient in the majority of patients. The advantage of treatment with nucleoside and nucleotide analogues is the possibility to suppress HBV DNA to undetectable levels in 70%-90% of patients. However, analogue treatment is a long-term treatment (possibly life-long) and is associated with the development of resistance.
Acta medica Croatica: c̆asopis Hravatske akademije medicinskih znanosti 12/2009; 63(5):391-5.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The management and prognosis of chronic viral hepatitis greatly depend on the extent and progression of liver fibrosis. Although liver biopsy is still considered as the gold standard to evaluate hepatic fibrosis, it is an invasive procedure with rare but potentially severe complications. It is also prone to sampling errors. These limitations have stimulated the search for new noninvasive approaches. A number of noninvasive techniques such as indirect or direct markers and measurement of liver stiffness using transient elastography have been proposed for the assessment of hepatic fibrosis. The performance of simple tests derived from routine laboratory parameters appears to be similar to that of more complex and expensive fibrosis panels. Transient elastography seems to be more accurate than blood tests for diagnosing cirrhosis. The goal of disease specific, accurate and sensitive markers of fibrosis is worth the effort. The true success in such an attempt can be characterized as hopeful; however, these noninvasive methods can be anticipated to become an important tool in clinical practice.
Acta medica Croatica: c̆asopis Hravatske akademije medicinskih znanosti 12/2009; 63(5):371-5.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite impressive therapy improvements, there still are a huge proportion of patients that will fail to achieve undetectable HCV. On the other hand, not all patients that demonstrate some response to treatment attain a sustained viral response. Patients with HCV non-response can be classified into several groups: 1) non-response (where the patient does not achieve undetectable HCV RNA at any time); 2) partial response (when the patient experiences some drop in HCV viremia but never below the detectable limit); 3) viral breakthrough (those associated with an initial virologic response, which is subsequently lost during treatment); and 4) relapse (those with an initial virologic response, which is lost upon treatment discontinuation). Most studies suggest that the major reason for breakthrough is missing the peginterferon alfa and/or ribavirin doses for various causes (significant adverse events, poor compliance, etc.). The main reasons for relapse include treatment initiation with insufficient ribavirin dosage or failure to continue treatment long enough, especially in patients with a slow virologic response. Patients with a well-defined non-response are poor candidates for retreatment. Such patients have no significant decline in HCV RNA during treatment and are essentially refractory to the effects of interferon. Patients with partial virologic response are excellent candidates for retreatment and can achieve undetectable HCV RNA if switched to a more intensive interferon regimen. Many other patients can be retreated successfully. The likelihood of achieving SVR (Sustained Virologic Response) with peginterferon alfa plus ribavirin retreatment depends on several factors, e.g., the agents used in previous treatment courses, total dose and duration of treatment, HCV genotype, level of viremia and previous drop in viremia. Patients previously treated with standard interferon alpha monotherapy are good candidates for retreatment, regardless of baseline liver histology. In this group, those that were previous responder-relapsers are most likely to respond to a course of peginterferon/ribavirin combination therapy, whereas previous non-responders can also achieve significant rates of SVR, particularly those infected with genotype 2 or 3 HCV There are several options for peginterferon alpha/ribavirin non-responders: 1) retreatment with the same protocol if adherence was a major problem; 2) administration of a longer treatment course (72 weeks) in slow responders; 3) retreatment with another interferon-based product (different peginterferon alpha, consensus interferon); 4) maintenance therapy; 5) clinical trials; and 6) wait and watch approach (respectable in many non-responders, particularly if fibrosis is not advanced and/or the patient experienced difficulties in tolerating therapy). Ongoing retreatment trials using specific antiviral drugs (valopicitabine, boceprevir, telaprevir) are of great interest, particularly in triple combination regimens.
Acta medica Croatica: c̆asopis Hravatske akademije medicinskih znanosti 12/2009; 63(5):417-22.