[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac involvement is a relevant clinical finding in systemic sclerosis (SSc) and is associated with poor prognosis. Left atrial (LA) remodeling and/or dysfunction can be an early sign of diastolic dysfunction. Two-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) is a novel and promising tool for detecting very early changes in LA myocardial performance.Aim: To assess whether STE strain parameters may detect early alterations in LA function in SSc patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) are at risk for developing pulmonary hypertension, which is associated with a poor prognosis. Exercise Doppler echocardiography enables the identification of exercise-induced increase in pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) and may provide a thorough noninvasive hemodynamic evaluation.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical and echocardiographic determinants of exercise-induced increase in PASP in a large population of patients with SSc.
We selected 164 patients with SSc (age 58 ± 13 years, 91% female) with normal resting PASP (<40 mm Hg) who underwent a comprehensive 2-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography and graded bicycle semisupine exercise Doppler echocardiography. Pulmonary artery systolic pressure, cardiac output, and pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) were estimated noninvasively. Cutoff values of PASP ≥50 mm Hg and PVR ≥3.0 Wood Units at peak exercise were considered a significant exercise-induced increase in PASP and PVR, respectively.
Sixty-nine (42%) patients showed a significant exercise-induced increase in PASP. Among them, peak PVR ≥3 Wood Units was present only in 11% of patients, about 5% of the total population. Univariate analysis showed that age, presence of interstitial lung disease, and both right and left diastolic dysfunction are predictors of peak PASP ≥50 mm Hg, but none of these parameters predict elevated peak PVR.
Exercise-induced increase in PASP occurs in almost one-half of patients with SSc with normal resting PASP. Peak exercise PASP is affected by age, interstitial lung disease, and right and left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and, only in 5% of the patients, is associated with an increase in PVR during exercise, suggesting heterogeneity of the mechanisms underlying exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension in SSc.
American heart journal 02/2013; 165(2):200-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with atrioventricular (AV) block can develop left ventricular (LV) dysfunction with long-term right ventricular pacing (RVP). We investigated the role of RVP-induced LV dyssynchrony in this adverse remodeling.
Nineteen patients with normal LV function undergoing pacemaker implantation for AV block were included. Right ventricular pacing leads were positioned at the apex. Two-dimensional and tissue Doppler echocardiography was performed before and immediately after implantation and at the end of follow-up. The maximal delay between peak velocities of opposing basal LV walls was measured using tissue Doppler echocardiography, as an index of LV dyssynchrony. With the initiation of RVP, LV dyssynchrony increased in some patients and decreased in others, as compared with intrinsic rhythm. The RVP-induced change in dyssynchrony inversely correlated with baseline dyssynchrony (r = -0.686, P = .010). After 28 ± 3.6 months, LV end-systolic volume (ESV) increased, and ejection fraction decreased (from 34 ± 12 to 40 ± 20 mL, P = .010 and from 65% ± 6% to 56% ± 11%, P < .001, respectively). The change in LV ESV was greater in patients with 60% or greater cumulative RVP (9.9 vs 0.08 mL, P = .027). Within this frequently paced group, the RVP-induced change in dyssynchrony correlated with the increase in LV ESV (r = 0.727, P = .026). Patients who had a 15% or greater increase in LV ESV had greater RVP-induced change in dyssynchrony (28.4 vs -7.8 milliseconds, P = .037).
Some patients with AV block experience an increase in LV dyssynchrony with RVP. Increased LV dyssynchrony predicts adverse LV remodeling during long-term follow-up.
Journal of electrocardiology 05/2012; 45(4):357-60. · 1.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: the clinical decision making could be difficult in patients with borderline lesions (visually assessed stenosis severity of 30 to 50%) of the left main coronary artery (LM). The aim of the study was to evaluate the relationship between transthoracic Doppler (TTDE) peak diastolic flow velocity (PDV) and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) measurements in the assessment of angiographically borderline LM lesions.
27 patients (mean age 64 ± 8 years, 21 males) with borderline LM stenosis referred for IVUS examination were included in the study. We performed standard IVUS with minimal lumen area (MLA) and plaque burden (PB) measurement and routine quantitative coronary angiography (QCA) with diameter stenosis (%DS) and area stenosis (%AS) assessment in all. During TTDE, resting PDV was measured in the LM.
interpretable Doppler signal could be obtained in 24 patients (88% feasibility); therefore these patients entered the final analysis. MLA was 7.1 ± 2.7 mm2. TTDE measured PDV correlated significantly with IVUS-derived MLA (r = -0.46, p < 0.05) and plaque burden (r = 0.51, p < 0.05). Using a velocity cut-off of 112 cm/sec TTDE showed a 92% sensitivity and 62% specificity to identify IVUS-significant (MLA < 6 mm2) LM stenosis.
In angiographically borderline LM disease, resting PDV from transthoracic echocardiography is increased in presence of increased plaque burden by IVUS. TTDE evaluation might be a useful adjunct to other invasive and non-invasive methods in the assessment of borderline LM lesions. Further, large scale studies are needed to establish the exact cut-off value of PDV for routine clinical application.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B-lines (also termed ultrasound lung comets) obtained with lung ultrasound detect experimental acute lung injury (ALI) very early and before hemogasanalytic changes, with a simple, noninvasive, nonionizing and real-time method. Our aim was to estimate the correlation between B-lines number and the wet/dry ratio of the lung tissue, measured by gravimetry, in an experimental model of ALI. Seventeen Na-pentobarbital anesthetized, cannulated (central vein and carotid artery) minipigs were studied: five sham-operated animals served as controls and, in 12 animals, ALI was induced by injection of oleic acid (0.1 mL/kg) via the central venous catheter. B-lines were measured by echographic scanner in four predetermined chest scanning sites in each animal. At the end of each experiment, both lungs were dissected, weighed and dried to determine wet/dry weight ratio by gravimetry. After the injection of oleic acid, B-lines number increased over time. A significant correlation was found between the wet/dry ratio and B-lines number (r = 0.91, p < 0.001). These data suggest that in an experimental pig model of ALI/ARDS, B-lines assessed by lung ultrasound provide a simple, semiquantitative, noninvasive index of lung water accumulation, strongly correlated to invasive gravimetric assessment.
Ultrasound in medicine & biology 10/2010; 36(12):2004-10. · 2.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The main mission statement of the European Association of Echocardiography (EAE) is 'to promote excellence in clinical diagnosis, research, technical development, and education in cardiovascular ultrasound in Europe'. As competence and quality control issues are increasingly recognized by patients, physicians, and payers, the EAE has established recommendations for training, competence, and quality improvement in echocardiography. The purpose of this document is to provide the requirements for training and competence in echocardiography, to outline the principles of quality measurement, and to recommend a set of measures for improvement, with the ultimate goal of raising the standards of echocardiographic practice in Europe.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: The safety of any diagnostic test is a major issue in deciding its practicability and cost-effectiveness.Aim: To evaluate the safety of various stress echo modalities in the “real life” an international stress echo complication registry was started.Methods: Up to January 2001, a simple written questionnaire was distributed to 300 echo laboratories known to perform stress echo. Of these 300, 71 echo laboratories were “responders” and reported on 85,997 examinations.Results: Exercise was used in 26,295, dobutamine in 35,103, and dipyridamole in 24,599 cases. Life-threatening events occurred in 86 patients: during exercise in 4 patients (event rate: 1/6,574), during dobutamine infusion (low dose for viability and/or high dose for ischemia) in 63 patients (event rate 1/557), and during dipyridamole stress test in 19 patients (event rate 1/1,294). Of the 86 patients with complications, 5 died during dobutamine stress test (ventricular fibrillation n=2 and cardiac rupture n = 3), and 1 following a dipyridamole test (uncontrollable hypotension).Conclusion: Stress echocardiography is a safe method in the “real life,” as well, but dreadful complications may occur. Possibly due to preselection criteria, exercise seems safer than pharmacological stress and dipyridamole safer than dobutamine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prognostic value of systemic endothelial dysfunction still remains uncertain in ischemic heart disease. The aim of the study was to establish the prognostic value of ultrasonically assessed systemic endothelial dysfunction in patients with chest pain syndrome and to assess whether this information was incremental to that already provided by simple parameters derived from echocardiography, such as left ventricular mass index or ejection fraction. One hundred ninety-five in-hospital patients (age=60+/-10 years; 63 females) with known or suspected CAD have been enrolled. All of the patients underwent, on different days, coronary angiography, endothelium-dependent FMD testing of the brachial artery by high-resolution ultrasound and resting 2D-echocardiography evaluation. The result of the FMD has been defined as the percent change in the internal diameter of the brachial artery during reactive hyperemia related to baseline. All patients were followed-up for a median of 27 months. During follow-up there were 17 deaths (9 cardiac), 4 non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI), and 18 late clinically-driven revascularization procedures. By a multivariate analysis, echocardiographically assessed ejection fraction (odds ratio: 2.32; 95% confidence interval: 1.24-4.33; p=0.008) and angiographically assessed CAD (odds ratio: 2.82; 95% confidence interval: 1.40-5.67; p=0.003), were independent prognostic predictors of events. In patients with known or suspected CAD, systemic endothelial dysfunction did not show a significant prognostic value. Echocardiographic indices of structural left ventricular damage appear to have a stronger prognostic value than functional indices of peripheral vascular damage in risk stratifying ischemic patients.
International journal of cardiology 07/2007; 119(1):109-11. · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The safety of any diagnostic test is a major issue in deciding its practicability and cost-effectiveness. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety of various stress echocardiographic modalities in the "real world." From February 1998 to January 2004, a simple written questionnaire was distributed to echocardiography laboratories across the world known to perform stress echocardiography. The following categories of major complications (known to occur during stress testing) were indicated: sustained ventricular tachycardia (> 30 beats/min), ventricular fibrillation, myocardial infarction, third-degree atrioventricular block, severe hypotension requiring therapy, cardiac asystole, cardiac rupture, stroke, and death. Three hundred centers were polled, from which 71 co-investigators responded and reported on 85,997 patient examinations. Exercise was used in 26,295 cases, dobutamine in 35,103, and dipyridamole in 24,599 cases. Life-threatening events occurred in 86 cases: during exercise in 4 patients (event rate 1 in 6,574), during dobutamine infusion (small dose for viability and/or large dose for ischemia) in 63 patients (event rate 1 in 557), and during dipyridamole stress testing in 19 patients (event rate 1 in 1,294). Of the 86 patients with complications, 5 died during dobutamine stress testing (ventricular fibrillation, n = 2; cardiac rupture, n = 3) and 1 after dipyridamole testing (cardiogenic shock). In conclusion, stress echocardiography is a safe method in the real world, but serious complications may occur. Exercise seems safer than pharmacologic stress and dipyridamole safer than dobutamine, possibly because of preselection criteria.
The American Journal of Cardiology 09/2006; 98(4):541-3. · 3.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our case report deals with the importance of detailed echocardiographic examination for differential diagnosis of coronary sinus dilation and development of abnormalities of great thoracic veins.
A 49-year-old man underwent transthoracic echocardiography for atypical chest pain. A dilated coronary sinus was found and venous contrast echocardiography raised the suspicion of absent right and persistent left superior vena cava. Transesophageal echocardiography showed absence of right superior vena cava. The echocardiographic findings were confirmed by upper venous digital subtraction cavography.
combination of agenesia of right SVC and isolated persistent left SVC in adult patients is a very rare abnormality. Both clinicians and sonographers should be alerted to the possible presence of this combined venous anomaly. Transthoracic echocardiograpy - including agitated saline infusion to the antecubital vein - is an important diagnostic tool for accurate diagnosis of this congenital thoracic venous malformation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to examine the long-term prognostic value of coronary flow velocity reserve (CFR) evaluated by means of stress transoesophageal echocardiography (STEE) in patients who have undergone percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
The study comprised 31 patients with significant LAD stenosis who underwent LAD-PCI. In consequence of their clinical signs, 11 subjects required rePCI or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) operation within six months. The clinical status of the remaining 20 cases improved during the follow-up. STEE examinations were performed before LAD-PCI and after it.
The CFR of patients in a stable clinical condition improved during the follow-up, while the CFR of those who required rePCI or CABG remained unchanged. From this patient population, two subjects died during the 5-year follow-up.
Most of the patients who displayed an improved CFR after PCI suffered no major clinical events during the 5-year follow-up; in contrast, in those who a priori had a low CFR and did not show any improvement after PCI, major events did occur during this period.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coronary flow reserve (CFR) is impaired in non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Mechanisms by which such impairment occurs are still unknown, but cofactors such as diastolic compressive force, left ventricular hypertrophy, and microvascular disease have been implied. In order to characterize the determinants of CFR in non-ischemic DCM, we evaluated 110 non-ischemic DCM patients (58 men; age=61+/-12 years) and 21 age- and gender-matched control patients (14 men; age=59+/-13 years) by transthoracic (n=88) or transesophageal (n=22) dipyridamole (0.84 mg/ kg in 10') stress echocardiography. All patients showed angiographically normal coronary arteries. Non-ischemic DCM patients had an ejection fraction <45% while control patients had normal left ventricular systolic function. CFR was assessed on LAD by pulsed Doppler as the ratio of maximal vasodilation (dipyridamole) to rest peak diastolic coronary flow velocity. Mean CFR value was 2.0+/-0.6 for DCM patients and 3.2+/-0.5 for controls (p<0.01). At individual non-ischemic DCM patient analysis, 46 patients had normal CFR> or =2 (Group 1) and 64 patients had abnormal CFR<2 (Group 2). On univariate analysis, CFR reduction correlated with NYHA functional class (r=-0.33, p=0.001), left ventricular ejection fraction ( r=0.23, p=0.02), end-systolic volume (r=-0.23, p=0.02), systolic pulmonary artery pressure (r=-0.42, p=0.0001), deceleration time (r=0.24, p=0.02). Logistic multiregression analysis showed that only NYHA functional class significantly and negatively correlated with CFR (odds ratio=0.9; 95% confidence intervals: 0.03-.35, p=0.0001). In patients with non-ischemic DCM, CFR is reduced but with substantial individual variability, only partially accounted for by level of systolic and diastolic dysfunction. The clinical functional class is the strongest predictor of CFR reduction in these patients, with lowest flow reserve found in more advanced NYHA class.
International Journal of Cardiology 10/2005; 105(1):46-52. · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mental stress induces endothelial dysfunction, that is a reduction of the post-occlusion brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD). This does not occur in subjects highly susceptible to hypnosis (Highs) in either the waking or hypnotic state. The aim of the present experiment was to assess whether endothelial dysfunction is also induced by acute nociceptive stimulation and whether high hypnotisability and/or the specific instruction of analgesia prevent its occurrence in awake highly hypnotizable individuals. Thus, nine Highs and nine subjects with low susceptibility to hypnosis (Lows) underwent an experimental session including the administration of pressor pain and of pressor pain associated with the instruction of analgesia. Heart rate, basal artery diameters and brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation were measured during stimulation and rest conditions. Heart rate exhibited slight changes not modulated by hypnotisability. During painful stimulation both Highs and Lows showed a decrease of FMD, but it was significantly less pronounced in Highs. During the administration of painful stimulation together with the instruction of analgesia, only Highs reported analgesia and their FMD no longer decreased. This study provides the first evidence of pain-related endothelial dysfunction and extends previous findings concerning a sort of natural protection of Highs against the vascular effects of mental stress to acute pain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High-dose glucose-insulin-potassium (GIK) solution has beneficial effects on reducing mortality in acute myocardial infarction. Dipyridamole (DIP) is a powerful antioxidant and increases adenosine concentration. Experimentally, GIK and DIP have additive protective effects in ischemia-reperfusion injury.
This work aims to assess the acute effects of DIP alone, GIK alone, and GIK+DIP on left ventricular function in patients evaluated early after an acute myocardial infarction.
Ten male patients (age 63+/-11 years) with uncomplicated acute myocardial infarction were evaluated within 3 days after admission. All had been treated with systemic thrombolysis and were on full therapy (including beta-blockers) at the time of testing. They underwent stress echocardiography [2D echo, with wall motion score index (WMSI) evaluated in a 16-segment model of the left ventricle, with each segment scored from 1=normal to 4=dyskinetic] during low-dose DIP alone (0.28 mg/kg in 4 min); GIK alone (4-h infusion of glucose 30%, 25 insulin units, and 40 mEq of KCl, at an infusion rate of 1.5 ml/kg/h); and GIK+DIP.
Regional systolic function (baseline WMSI=1.69+/-0.2) improved after DIP (1.54+/-0.1), GIK (1.54+/-0.1), and, to a greater extent, after GIK+DIP (1.33+/-0.2; p<0.001 vs. baseline; p<0.05 vs. DIP; p<0.05 vs. GIK).
High-dose GIK has an acute beneficial effect on regional left ventricular function in patients with acute myocardial infarction. This beneficial effect is potentiated by low-dose DIP coadministration.
International Journal of Cardiology 07/2005; 102(2):255-8. · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estimating contractility of the left ventricle with noninvasive techniques is an important yet elusive goal. Positive inotropic interventions are mirrored by smaller end-systolic volumes and higher end-systolic pressures. An increased heart rate progressively increases the force of ventricular contraction (Bowditch treppe or staircase phenomenon).
To assess the feasibility of a noninvasive estimation of force-frequency relation (FFR) during pacing stress in the echo lab in patients with permanent pacemaker (PM).
Transthoracic stress pacing echocardiography was performed in 26 patients with a permanent pacemaker (age 69+/-11 years; 21 men, 5 women). Seven patients had normal function at baseline and during stress ("normals"); eight had angiographically assessed coronary artery disease (three with and five without induced ischemia with stress echo); eleven patients had dilated cardiomyopathy (DC). To build the FFR, the force was determined at different steps as the ratio of the systolic pressure (SP, cuff sphygmomanometer)/end-systolic volume index (ESV, biplane Simpson rule/body surface area). Heart rate was determined from ECG.
The absolute value of the FFR slope was highest in controls and lowest in DC patients. A flat-downsloping FFR was found in 12/19 patients but not for normals (p<0.01).
Noninvasive pacemaker stress echocardiography (PASE) is a simple and efficient option to assess left ventricular (LV) contractility in patients with permanent pacemaker.
European Journal of Heart Failure 03/2005; 7(2):173-81. · 5.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 49-year-old man underwent transthoracic echocardiography for atypical chest pain. A dilated coronary sinus was found and venous contrast echocardiography raised the suspicion of absent right and persistent left superior vena cava. Transesophageal echocardiography showed no presence of right superior vena cava. The echocardiographic findings were confirmed by upper venous digital subtraction cavography.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stress echocardiography is a cost-effective tool for the modern noninvasive diagnosis of coronary artery disease. Several physical and pharmacological stresses are used in combination with echocardiographic imaging, usually exercise, dobutamine and dipyridamole. The safety of a stress is (or should be) a major determinant in the choice of testing. Although large scale single center experiences and multicenter trial information are available for both dobutamine and dipyridamole stress echo testing, complications or side effects still can occur even in the most experienced laboratories with the most skilled operators.
We decided to present a case collection of severe complications during pharmacological stress echo testing, including a ventricular tachycardia, cardiogenic shock, transient ischemic attack, torsade de pointe, fatal ventricular fibrillation, and free wall rupture.
We believe that, in this field, every past complication described is a future complication avoided; what happens in your lab is more true of what you read in journals; and Good Clinical Practice is not "not having complications", but to describe the complications you had.