[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context. Vitamin D plays a role in a wide range of extra-skeletal processes, including vascular function. Endothelial dysfunction is a predictor of cardiovascular disease especially in older subjects. However, the relationship between Vitamin D levels and indexes of endothelial vasodilation has never been fully addressed in older individuals. Objective. The objective of this study was to examine the association between vitamin D and endothelial function in a large community-based sample of older subjects. Methods. This cross-sectional study involved 852 community-dwellers men and women aged 70 years from the Prospective Study of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) Study, with complete data on vascular function and 25-OH-Vitamin D. We evaluated endothelium-dependent vasodilation (EDV) by invasive forearm technique with acetylcholine, endothelium-independent vasodilation (EIDV) by sodium nitroprussiate, flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) and the pulse wave analysis (Reflectance Index, RI). Vitamin D levels were measured by chemiluminescence. We used multivariate regression models adjusted for BMI (Model 1) and for multiple confounders (hsCRP, insulin, total-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, smoking, sex hormones, season of blood collection, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular medications and diseases, statin usage, plasma calcium and calcium intake, PTH, physical exercise, liver and kidney function tests, albumin) (Model 2). Results. In women, but not in men, vitamin D levels were positively associated with EIDV in both model 1 (β±SE=1.41±0.54, p=0.001), and model 2 (β±SE=2.01±0.68, p=0.003).We found no significant relationship between vitamin D levels and EDV, FMD and RI in both sexes. Conclusions. In older women, but not in men, vitamin D is positively and independently associated with EIDV.
The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 06/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aortic valve stenosis is the most common native valve disease and its most common cause in the United States and Europe is the calcification of a normal trileaflet. Recently, there is increasing evidence indicating that valve calcification has common underlying mechanisms with atherosclerosis. This connection raises interest in the potential efficacy of antiatherosclerosis medications in calcific valve stenosis (AS) therapy. Among them statins, are one of the most promising candidates, because of their pleiotropic effects. The aim of this review is to summarize and analyze the findings of contemporary studies and to discuss the rationale for statin usage in AS populations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: It is uncertain whether mitral valve replacement is really inferior to mitral valve repair for the treatment of chronic ischemic mitral regurgitation. This multicenter study aimed at providing a contribution to this issue. METHODS: Of 1006 patients with chronic ischemic mitral regurgitation and impaired left ventricular function (ejection fraction < 40%) operated on at 13 Italian institutions between 1996 and 2011, 298 (29.6%) underwent mitral valve replacement whereas 708 (70.4%) received mitral valve repair. Propensity scores were calculated by a nonparsimonious multivariable logistic regression, and 244 pairs of patients were matched successfully using calipers of width 0.2 standard deviation of the logit of the propensity scores. The postmatching median standardized difference was 0.024 (range, 0-0.037) and in none of the covariates did it exceed 10%. RESULTS: Early deaths were 3.3% (n = 8) in mitral valve repair versus 5.3% (n = 13) in mitral valve replacement (P = .32). Eight-year survival was 81.6% ± 2.8% and 79.6% ± 4.8% (P = .42), respectively. Actual freedom from all-cause reoperation and valve-related reoperation were 64.3% ± 4.3% versus 80% ± 4.1%, and 71.3% ± 3.5% versus 85.5% ± 3.9 in mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement, respectively (P < .001). Actual freedom from all valve-related complications was 68.3% ± 3.1% versus 69.9% ± 3.3% in mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement, respectively (P = .78). Left ventricular function did not improved significantly, and it was comparable in the 2 groups postoperatively (36.9% vs 38.5%, P = .66). At competing regression analysis, mitral valve repair was a strong predictor of reoperation (hazard ratio, 2.84; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Mitral valve replacement is a suitable option for patients with chronic ischemic mitral regurgitation and impaired left ventricular function. It provides better results in terms of freedom from reoperation with comparable valve-related complication rates.
The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery 11/2012; · 3.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: Barlow disease represents a surgical challenge for mitral valve repair (MR) in the presence of mitral insufficiency (MI) with multiple regurgitant jets. We hereby present our mid-term experience using a modified edge-to-edge technique to address this peculiar MI. METHODS: From March 2003 till December 2010, 25 consecutive patients (mean age 54±7years, 14 males) affected by severe Barlow disease with multiple regurgitant jets were submitted to MR. Preoperative transesophageal echo (TEE) in all the cases showed at least 2 regurgitant jets, involving one or both leaflets in more than one segment. In all the patients, a triple orifice valve (TOV) repair with annuloplasty was performed. Intra-operative TEE and postoperative transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) were carried out to evaluate results of the TOV repair. RESULTS: There was no in-hospital death and one late death (non-cardiac related). At intra-operative TEE, the three orifices showed a mean total valve area of 2.9±0.1cm(2) (range 2.5-3.3cm(2)) with no residual regurgitation (2 cases of trivial MI) and no sign of valve stenosis (mean transvalvular gradient 4.6±1.5mmHg). At follow up (mean 38±22months), TTE showed favourable MR and no recurrence of significant MI (6 cases of trivial and 1 of mild MI). Stress TTE was performed in 5 cases showing persistent effective valve function (2 cases of trivial MI at peak exercise). All the patients showed significant NYHA functional class improvement. CONCLUSIONS: This report indicates that the TOV technique is effective in correcting complex Barlow mitral valves with multiple jets. Further studies are required to confirm long-term applicability and durability in more numerous clinical cases.
International journal of cardiology 07/2012; · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell transplantation represents the last frontier within the treatment of cardiac diseases. From the first paper published in 1992 that has documented the potentials of the transplantation of autologous skeletal muscle cells to treat the damage induced by acute myocardial infarction, innumerable techniques of implantation and types of cells used has been reported, greatly expanding this innovative and appealing field of search in cardiovascular medicine. Despite original promises and expectations, current evidences of stem cell transplantation are still weak and controversial. Therefore, alternative line of research are being explored, particularly in the field of techniques of cell implantation and engraftment. Besides direct implantation or myocardial colonization by bone marrow stimulation, epicardial application of cell-delivering systems (scaffold and patches) have gained popularity due to the possibility to apply selectively a cell-containing device which may gradually release the chosen cell type, alone or in combination with trophic substances. The scaffolds have proven to be successful in this respect and may represent a valid alternative to coronary, intra-myocardial, or venous injection of stem cells, or to stem cell stimulating factors. Finally these systems may be applied through minimally invasive procedures and act as external constraint to enhance ventricular reverse remodelling or limit further cardiac dilatation.
The Journal of cardiovascular surgery 01/2012; 53(5):685-90. · 1.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study was aimed at determining the impact of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) on postoperative bioprosthetic structural valve degeneration.
Twelve Italian centers participated in the study. Patient data refer to bioprosthetic implantations performed from November 1988 to December 2009, which resulted in 6184 patients (mean age 71.3±5.4 years, 60.1% male) being enrolled. Of these patients, 1731 (27.9%) had type 2 DM. The propensity score-matching algorithm successfully matched 1113 patients with type 2 DM with the same number of no-DM patients. The postmatching standard differences were less than 0.1 for each of the covariates, and 64.2% of DM patients were matched. The early (30 days) mortality rate was 7.8% (n=87) versus 2.9% (n=33) in patients with or without type 2 DM (P<0.001), respectively. Seven-year freedom from valve deterioration was significantly lower in patients with DM (73.2% [95% confidence interval, 61.6-85.5] versus 95.4% [95% confidence interval, 83.9-100], P<0.001). In Cox regression models with robust SEs that accounted for the clustering of matched pairs, DM was the strongest predictor of structural valve degeneration (hazard ratio 2.39 [95% confidence interval 2.28-3.52]). When we allowed for interaction between type 2 DM and other key risk factors, DM remained a significant predictor beyond any potentially associated variable.
Patients with type 2 DM undergoing bioprosthetic valve implantation are at high risk of early and long-term mortality, as well as of structural valve degeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Refractory vascular spasm (RVS) concomitantly involving the entire coronary artery system and grafted conduits after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery is a rare, but dreadful event. No consensus exists in terms of appropriate management.
Between 1986 and 2009, 5,762 patients underwent isolated CABG at our institution, and 7 patients experienced RVS involving the coronary arteries and implanted conduits. Mean age was 65.6 years and 3 were female. All patients received from 3 to 5 distal anastomoses, including use of the left internal mammary artery. During the same time period, 18 patients experienced perioperative vasospasm of a single coronary artery or of a grafted conduit.
All diffuse RVS events occurred between 3 and 8 hours after surgery. All patients had diffuse ischemic-like electrocardiographic changes, and 5 patients rapidly developed cardiogenic shock in the intensive care unit. Angiography was quickly performed in all patients and showed diffuse RVS involving either the native coronary arteries or the anastomosed arterial and venous conduits. The first 5 patients of this series died in the catheterization lab due to rapidly evolving refractory cardiogenic shock and unresponsive cardiac arrest, despite intraaortic counterpulsation and aggressive pharmacologic interventions (selective vasodilators and systemic inotropes). In the last 2 patients, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was quickly instituted (1 in the catheterization lab, 1 in the operating room) and RVS could be successfully managed with complete resolution of ongoing vasospasm. In the single vascular spasm, there was only 1 death for refractory cardiac arrest, whereas all the other patients were successfully treated with direct infusion of vasodilators.
Diffuse RVS after CABG is a rare but lethal condition. Our experience, although limited, indicates that in such cases an aggressive treatment, that is, prompt extracorporeal membrane oxygenation institution and controlled cardiocirculatory assistance, represents the preferred solution to face such a dramatic event and may save patient lives.
The Annals of thoracic surgery 12/2011; 93(2):545-51. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lung erosion represents a dreadful complication in patients affected by thoracic aortic aneurysms. Intraoperative occurrence of severe bleeding and extensive air leakage from the pulmonary erosion is usually quite particularly dangerous and challenging because of fragile lung tissue to be repaired, hypo-coagulative state, and the need for full mechanical ventilation. We report the case of a patient who had uncontrollable pulmonary bleeding and marked air leakage from an aortic aneurysm-induced lung erosion and laceration, which were effectively treated with a hemostatic patch (Tachosil, Nycomed, Linz, Austria) after unsuccessful conventional surgical approaches.
The Annals of thoracic surgery 03/2011; 91(3):917-9. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study was aimed to determine the measurement accuracy of The CDI™ blood parameter monitoring system 500 (Terumo Cardiovascular Systems Corporation, Ann Arbor MI) in the real-time continuous measurement of arterial blood gases under different cardiocirculatory stress conditions
Inotropic stimulation (Dobutamine 2.5 and 5 μg/kg/min), vasoconstriction (Arginine-vasopressin 4, 8 and 16 IU/h), hemorrhage (-10%, -20%, -35%, and -50% of the theoretical volemia), and volume resuscitation were induced in ten swine (57.4 ± 10.7 Kg).Intermittent blood gas assessments were carried out using a routine gas analyzer at any experimental phase and compared with values obtained at the same time settings during continuous monitoring with CDI™ 500 system. The Bland-Altman analysis was employed.
Bias and precision for pO2 were - 0.06 kPa and 0.22 kPa, respectively (r2 = 0.96); pCO2 - 0.02 kPa and 0.15 kPa, respectively; pH -0.001 and 0.01 units, respectively ( r2 = 0.96). The analysis showed very good agreement for SO2 (bias 0.04,precision 0.33, r2 = 0.95), Base excess (bias 0.04,precision 0.28, r2 = 0.98), HCO3 (bias 0.05,precision 0.62, r2 = 0.92),hemoglobin (bias 0.02,precision 0.23, r2 = 0.96) and K+ (bias 0.02, precision 0.27, r2 = 0.93). The sensor was reliable throughout the experiment during hemodynamic variations.
Continuous blood gas analysis with the CDI™ 500 system was reliable and it might represent a new useful tool to accurately and timely monitor gas exchange in critically ill patients. Nonetheless, our findings need to be confirmed by larger studies to prove its reliability in the clinical setting.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (A1ATD) is usually linked to chronic lung dysfunction and chronic liver disease. Recent evidence have shown involvement also of the cardiovascular system. Indeed, dissection of the thoracic aorta or of the coronary arteries, and intra-cerebral aneurysms has been shown to represent concomitant vascular adverse events and apparently related to the impaired vascular wall integrity, strictly related to the elastase levels which are usually modulated by the A1AT. The case herein reported describes a patient affected by A1ATD associated with a large pseudoaneurysm of the left ventricle without any known predisposing factors to pseudoaneurysm development (coronary artery disease, acute myocardial infarction, taruma and myocarditis) indicating that the connective tissue impairment documented in A1ATD may also affect the myocardial structure, ultimately leading to weakened wall integrity, sudden rupture and pseudoaneurysm formation successfully managed by a surgical approach.
International journal of cardiology 03/2010; 145(2):384-6. · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aortic regurgitation (AR) and first-degree atrioventricular heart block (FDAVB) are encountered in ankylosing spondylitis (AS). This rheumatological disease also presents in 90% of the cases an immunogenetic marker that is Human Leucocyte Antigen-B27 (HLA-B27). In this report we describe a case of a patient presenting with AR, FDAVB, aneurysm and thinning of the ascending aortic wall, aneurysm of the sinuses of Valsalva and inferior myocardial infarction-like electrocardiographic pattern with unknown cardiac AS and absence of other AS-related systemic manifestations.
International journal of cardiology 06/2009; 137(3):e61-2. · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that a preoperative symmetric pattern with anterior mitral leaflet (AML) tethering predominance is related to lack of LVRR after restrictive annuloplasty.
In 300 patients with surgical annuloplasty for chronic ischemic mitral regurgitation the AML and posterior mitral leaflet (PML) tethering angles were quantified and patients were divided on the basis of the preoperative anterior/posterior tethering angle ratio: there were 144 patients with symmetric (Group 1) and 156 with asymmetric (Group 2) preoperative tethering pattern patients underwent echocardiography preoperatively, at discharge and at follow-up appointments (6 months [IQR 5-8 months]; late, 48 months [15-63 months]). Reverse remodeling was defined as a reduction in left ventricular end systolic volume index >15%.
LVRR was higher in the asymmetric group at discharge (69.2% vs. 9.7%, p<0.001), early (70.55% vs. 10.45%, p<0.001 and late follow up (81.4% vs. 4.8%, p<0.001). At multivariable regression analysis corrected by significant key factors of LVRR, symmetric leaflet tethering (OR, 4.8 [95% CI 2.9-5.6], p<0.001), anterior tethering angle alpha'<39.5 degrees (OR, 5.0 [95% CI 2.0-6.6], p<0.001), coaptation height<11 mm (OR, 2.5 [95% CI 1.1-3.3], p=0.006) and coaptation length > or =8 mm at the end of procedure (OR, 2.0 [CI 0.8-3.0], p=0.01) were independent predictors of LVRR. Compared with patients with asymmetric pattern (adjusted OR 0.2 [95% CI 0.03-1.6), those with symmetric pattern had >4-fold odds for lack of LVRR.
The preoperative symmetric pattern with AML prevalence was strongly associated with lack of reverse remodeling after annuloplasty. An accurate echocardiographic evaluation of the tethering mechanisms should be incorporated into clinical risk assessment and prediction models.
International journal of cardiology 01/2009; 141(2):182-91. · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infective endocarditis in pregnancy has a low incidence, often being associated with a previous history of rheumatic or congenital heart disease. In most reports the disease tends to run a subacute course and to appear more frequently in the third trimester of pregnancy. We present the case of a 36-year-old woman with large vegetations on the mitral valve due to infective endocarditis detected at the 32(nd) week of her first pregnancy. The difficulties in selecting the appropriate management strategy, particularly optimal time and mode of delivery, optimal time and type of valve surgery, are emphasized.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of our study was to examine the effects of statin therapy (atorvastatin) on post-implant structural changes of bovine pericardial tissue in a subcutaneous animal model.
Sixty male C57BL/6 mice underwent subcutaneous dorsal implantation of bovine pericardial fragments. Animals were randomized to treatment with atorvastatin (50 mg/kg) (statin group - SG) or to vehicle (control group - CG). After 1.5 months, all fragments were explanted and submitted to histopathological assessment (semi-quantitative analysis) to elucidate extent of inflammatory infiltrate, signs of tissue injury, or presence of microcalcification. Calcium determination of the implanted pericardial tissue was also performed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) assessment. ICP-MS analysis showed that pericardial fragments in SG had significantly (p<0.01) less calcium content than CG (625+/-142 vs. 962+/-590 microg/g, respectively). Light microscopy showed marked inflammatory infiltrates and tissue injury of pericardial specimens in CG animals, whereas SG animals maintained a better preserved original pericardial structure.
Our findings indicate that atorvastatin significantly attenuates the post-implant structural degeneration of artificial valve bovine pericardial tissue in a subcutaneous animal model. Further observations are mandatory to assess the effects of statins on the implanted bioprosthetic valve tissue in the blood circulation.
International journal of cardiology 01/2009; 141(1):68-74. · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Appropriate sternotomy and sternal closure are the most important factors in mechanical stability of the sternum and prevention of several postoperative complications. Easy techniques for identifying the sternal midline to facilitate opening and for obtaining reinforced closure are described. These techniques require minimal additional time. They are particularly indicated in patients at risk of sternotomy-related complications, and helpful to young surgeons in training.
Asian cardiovascular & thoracic annals 11/2008; 16(5):414-5.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emergency surgery for acute vein graft perforation and balloon entrapment during percutaneous angioplasty is reported here. Prompt extracorporeal circulation through peripheral cannulation enabled the control of systemic perfusion despite cardiac arrest. Vein graft repair was achieved by an autologous pericardial patch. Appropriate and tailored mechanical circulatory support allowed successful extracorporeal circulation withdrawal, limited intraoperative cardiac damage, and postoperative controlled recovery of ventricular function with ultimate favorable outcome.
The Annals of thoracic surgery 10/2008; 86(3):1002-4. · 3.45 Impact Factor