[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a rare case of Tako-Tsubo syndrome which occurred in a young woman at the beginning of pregnancy, who presented cardiac arrest at onset. In this case, the transient left ventricular ballooning involving both mid and apical segments, in absence of coronary artery disease, produced a severe impairment of cardiac function with typical echocardiographic and electrocardiographic findings. The favourable outcome, despite the sudden cardiac death at the beginning, raises further questions on this new kind of cardiomyopathy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), we sought to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a new transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)-guided strategy, aimed at selecting, 7 days post-cardioversion, those patients who are at low risk (i.e. who can terminate anticoagulation after a second TEE) and those at high risk (i.e. who have to continue it).
We enrolled 206 patients with non-valvular AF into a randomized, multicenter clinical trial. Group A patients underwent a TEE-guided cardioversion with heparin and at least 4 weeks of oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT) after cardioversion. Group B patients received enoxaparin and underwent a TEE-guided cardioversion. After 7 days, a second TEE was carried out. In the absence of TEE thromboembolic risk factors and left atrial appendage (LAA) dysfunction anticoagulation was discontinued.
In group A, 88 out of 102 patients underwent TEE and cardioversion was efficacious in 77 of 78. In group B, 100 out of 104 patients underwent TEE and cardioversion was efficacious in 80 of 87 patients; 55 patients underwent the second TEE and enoxaparin was stopped in 50 without LAA dysfunction. In group A, one transient ischemic attack and one sudden cardiac death occurred. In group B, one patient with complex aortic plaques suffered a stroke during enoxaparin. There was a minor hemorrhage in groups A and B, and a severe hemorrhage in a patient during OAT because of persistent atrial stunning. Hospitalization length and duration of anticoagulation were significantly shorter in group B.
The pre/post-cardioversion TEE strategy with enoxaparin in AF may constitute a feasible and safe approach in selecting patients at low thromboembolic risk who can benefit from precocious termination of anticoagulation (7 days after cardioversion). It may be also useful to identify those patients in whom a life-lasting anticoagulation could be beneficial. A larger trial to confirm these findings is under way.
Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 01/2008; 8(12):1034-42. DOI:10.2459/JCM.0b013e32803cab11 · 1.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the last few decades several clinical studies evaluated the efficacy and safety of different strategies for antithrombotic prophylaxis to prevent thromboembolic events in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Nowadays, a frequently debated point is related to the high embolic risk deriving from the asymptomatic and symptomatic AF recurrence after cardioversion or in paroxysmal AF, especially in patients with a large number of prolonged episodes of AF. In fact, after the recent AFFIRM and RACE trials, patients after successful cardioversion at risk for thromboembolism could also need lifelong anticoagulation. Considering this, should we anticoagulate all patients with clinical risk factors for thromboembolism with a single episode of AF, without considering the hemorrhagic risk? Based on recent trials, it is reasonable to hypothesize that long AF recurrences (> 48 h), both symptomatic and asymptomatic, are present mostly (if not exclusively) in patients with structural left atrial appendage (LAA) dysfunction and remodeling. Conversely, AF recurrences in patients without LAA dysfunction and remodeling, could be too short to allow thrombi formation in the LAA, and the anticoagulation could also be avoided. Once other clinical and echocardiographic determinants of stroke have been excluded, the LAA velocity could select patients with a normal appendage function at low embolic risk who could benefit from anti-aggregation and patients with irreversible appendage dysfunction, at high embolic risk, who need lifelong anticoagulation.
Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 08/2006; 7(7):505-13. DOI:10.2459/01.JCM.0000234769.50583.f1 · 1.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A large number of patients without symptoms of heart failure (HF) have asymptomatic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction owing to the compensatory mechanisms acting through the autonomic nervous system and neurohormones. In the setting of screening for prevention, one must identify the subgroup of these patients at high risk for symptomatic HF to establish appropriate therapy. As a first step to identify the subgroup of patients at high risk, clinical screening scores and natriuretic peptide measurements are used. Second, the definite diagnosis of asymptomatic LV dysfunction must be confirmed with echocardiography, occasionally with the help of new technologic developments to establish prompt, appropriate treatment to prevent disease progression. Therefore, the screening role of echocardiography is the early identification of patients with structural cardiopathy who are at risk of developing symptomatic HF and detection of those without LV dysfunction (diabetic and hypertensive) whose condition is prone to advance rapidly to structural cardiopathy or to symptomatic HF.
The American Journal of Cardiology 01/2006; 96(12A):42L-51L. DOI:10.1016/j.amjcard.2005.09.062 · 3.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) eligible for electrical cardioversion (C), the guided approach with transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) allows to avoid the 3 weeks of recommended precardioversion anticoagulation therapy. However, after sinus rhythm restoration, at least other 4 weeks of oral anticoagulation therapy are indicated, due to the postcardioversion thromboembolic risk related to left atrial (LA) and left atrial appendage (LAA) stunning. The aim of this study was to prospectively assess the effectiveness and the safety of anticoagulation therapy discontinuation 7 days after C using low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWH) in a selected group of patients who underwent a pre-C and 7 days post-C TEE evaluation.
One hundred one patients (74 patients with nonvalvular AF and 27 patients with atrial flutter lasting >48 h and history of AF) were enrolled into the study. Two patients refused the TEE, therefore, in 99/101, we performed a first TEE and, within 24 h, a C if there were no LAA thrombi, complex aortic plaques or severe spontaneous echocontrast. After C and 7 days of home-administered enoxaparin, a second TEE was carried out. In the absence of any new thrombi, severe spontaneous echocontrast and/or low emptying velocity of LAA, the therapy with enoxaparin was stopped; otherwise, anticoagulation therapy with enoxaparin was overlapped with oral anticoagulation and continued for at least 3 weeks. All patients were clinically followed at 1, 6 and 12 months after C.
Sinus rhythm was restored in 68/99 patients after successful C. The second TEE was carried out in 53 patients. At 1 month follow-up, no thromboembolic events were recorded either in patients at risk who had continued the oral anticoagulant therapy for at least 3 weeks or in those who suspended LMWH after 7 days post-C TEE. Between the 2nd and 12th month, three ischemic strokes occurred, all in the group of patients who had anticoagulation therapy for at least 3 weeks and had shown LAA velocity <25 cm/s at first or second TEE. No thromboembolic events were recorded in patients with normal LAA velocity; conversely, among the patients who had shown low LAA velocity at either TEE, three suffered from ischemic stroke. In two of these three patients, low LAA velocity was detected only at post-C TEE.
A brief anticoagulation therapy using LMWH appears to be safe and feasible. The 7 days post-C TEE can well-define patients without LAA stunning at low thromboembolic risk, who may take advantage of an early interruption of enoxaparin as an alternative to long oral anticoagulation. The LAA stunning, even in the absence of other thromboembolic risk factors, could select a group of patients at high risk who should continue oral anticoagulation indefinitely or until signs of LAA dysfunction disappear.
International Journal of Cardiology 08/2005; 102(3):447-54. DOI:10.1016/j.ijcard.2004.05.052 · 6.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Echocardiography has a key role in the diagnostic and prognostic evaluation of patients in the different phases of acute myocardial infarction. Despite this important role of the conventional echocardiographic technologies, novel echocardiographic applications are under development or already used in the clinical practice. It is very difficult to distinguish which of these techniques will play a consistent role and will cover important diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic use. The wise cardiologist will be the one who will choose the appropriate technology for the right subset of patients. In this review paper we try to assign to each novel echocardiographic technique its actual clinical weight in every pathophysiological condition: myocardial contrast echocardiography, contrast opacification of the left ventricle, coronary flow reserve study, integrated backscatter, tissue Doppler and strain rate imaging. For the best treatment choice, each patient has to be perfectly diagnosed and characterized in order to have a tailored therapy. A correct diagnosis of the extension of myocardial necrosis cannot ignore the transmural wavefront development, the amount of viable myocardium or the presence of microvascular damage. Also the simple echocardiographic wall motion akinesia can be caused by a variable extension of non-contracting, scarred myocardium. The different anatomic and functional intramyocardial patterns represent the basis for different functional outcome of regional and hence global left ventricular function. The greatest understanding of the pathology always leads to the best treatment.
Italian heart journal: official journal of the Italian Federation of Cardiology 07/2004; 5 Suppl 6:25S-40S.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prognosis of patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) depends not only on pharmacologic therapy but also on nonpharmacologic aspects. A complete and ongoing education program for treating CHF includes an understanding of the causes of CHF, symptoms, diet, salt and fluid restriction, drug regimen, compliance, physical and work activities, lifestyle changes, and measures of self-control. Moreover, the nonpharmacologic treatment (dietary modifications, lifestyle, physical exercise, and health care education) must be inserted in a multidisciplinary program organized by the physician in conjunction with the health system, the nurses, and, especially, the patients themselves, who must understand their disease and the many therapeutic options. Cardiologists should treat patients in a clear and comprehensible way, and other specialists (dietitians, physiotherapists, psychologists, nurses, and social workers), together with the patient's family, should strive for the best living conditions for the patient. In this way, the treatment of CHF can improve the quantity and quality of life and save a significant amount in health care costs.
The American Journal of Cardiology 06/2003; 91(9A):41F-50F. DOI:10.1016/S0002-9149(02)03337-4 · 3.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is a difficult task to define practical guidelines and a pragmatic achievement for the new document of the Italian Ministry of Health for structures of the national health system obtaining a quality system according to the ISO 9000 standard. The present article illustrates the different steps to accomplish the quality management in our cardiology department, recently internationally certified, and it gives several practical examples of the path followed in the different sections of the department to obtain the best management of all the Operative Units, identifying customer requests and measuring customer satisfaction.
Italian heart journal. Supplement: official journal of the Italian Federation of Cardiology 05/2003; 4(4):319-31.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of 24-hour intravenous infusion of glutathione (GSH) on plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and on clinical recovery after myocardial infarction in 67 patients treated with recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rt-PA) and 29 patients not given rt-PA, Baseline MDA levels were also measured in 20 healthy control subjects matched for sex, age, and smoking habits, Administration of rt-PA resulted in an earlier recovery of ST elevation. A higher number of patients with fast ST recovery, a lower creatine phosphokinase (CPK) maximum peak, earlier CPK peak, and a lower incidence of arrhythmic episodes were among those who received GSH in addition tort-PA,Patients who did not receive rt-PA showed a rather steady trend of plasma MDA levels, Patients receiving thrombolytic therapy showed increased MDA concentrations beginning 6 hours after starting therapy, However, while the patients treated only with rt-PA showed a continuous increase in MDA levels, those patients who also received GSH had a significant decrease in MDA levels, Plasma MDA levels significantly increased after thrombolysis; administration of GSH appeared to limit some adverse effects associated with reperfusion-induced oxidative stress.
Current Therapeutic Research 02/1996; 57(2). DOI:10.1016/S0011-393X(96)80007-5 · 0.45 Impact Factor