Publications by authors named "Anna Rita Vestri"

42 Publications

Impact of Prior Antibiotic Use in Primary Care on Resistance to Third Generation Cephalosporins: A Case-Control Study.

Antibiotics (Basel) 2021 Apr 16;10(4). Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari, Italy.

Research is lacking on the reversibility of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Thus, we aimed to determine the influence of previous antibiotic use on the development and decay over time of third generation cephalosporin (3GC)-resistance of . Using the database of hospital laboratories of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen (Italy), anonymously linked to the database of outpatient pharmaceutical prescriptions and the hospital discharge record database, this matched case-control study was conducted including as cases all those who have had a positive culture from any site for 3GC resistant (3GCREC) during a 2016 hospital stay. Data were analyzed by conditional logistic regression. 244 cases were matched to 1553 controls by the date of the first isolate. Male sex (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.10-2.01), older age (OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.02-1.21), the number of different antibiotics taken in the previous five years (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.08-1.33), at least one antibiotic prescription in the previous year (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.36-2.71), and the diagnosis of diabetes (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.08-2.30) were independent risk factors for 3GCREC colonization/infection. Patients who last received an antibiotic prescription two years or three to five years before hospitalization showed non-significant differences with controls (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.68-1.38 and OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.59-1.24), compared to an OR of 1.92 (95% CI 1.36-2.71) in those receiving antibiotics in the year preceding hospitalization. The effect of previous antibiotic use on 3GC-resistance of is highest after greater cumulative exposure to any antibiotic as well as to 3GCs and in the first 12 months after antibiotics are taken and then decreases progressively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics10040451DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8073604PMC
April 2021

Baseline CD44v6-positive circulating tumor cells to predict first-line treatment failure in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Oncotarget 2020 Nov 10;11(45):4115-4122. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Liquid Biopsy Unit, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

CD44v6, the CD44 isoform mostly involved in cancer cell migration and invasion, has been identified as a functional biomarker and therapeutic target in colon cancer stem cells. We here provide evidence that baseline CD44v6-positive CTC predict treatment failure in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer undergoing first-line chemotherapy. We suggest that CD44v6-positive CTC can be used to early detect intrinsic drug resistance in this cancer type.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27794DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665234PMC
November 2020

Does the length of uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy affect postoperative pain? Results of a randomized controlled trial.

Thorac Cancer 2020 07 7;11(7):1765-1772. Epub 2020 May 7.

Division of Thoracic Surgery, Sant'Andrea Hospital, University of Rome "Sapienza", Rome, Italy.

Background: Uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy has become a common approach for the treatment of early stage lung cancer. Here, we aimed to establish whether the length of uniportal incision could affect postoperative pain and surgical outcomes in consecutive patients undergoing uniportal VATS lobectomy for early stage lung cancer.

Methods: This was a unicenter Randomized Control Trial (NCT03218098). Consecutive patients undergoing uniportal VATS lobectomy for Stage I lung cancer were randomly assigned to a Small Incision group or Long Incision group in 1:1 ratio based on whether patients received a 4 cm or 8 cm incision. The endpoints were to compare the intergroup difference regarding (i) postoperative pain measured by brief pain inventory (BPI) questionnaire (first endpoint); (ii) operative time; (iii) length of chest drainage; (iv) length of hospital stay; (v) postoperative complications; and (vi) pulmonary functional status (secondary endpoints).

Results: A total of 48 patients were eligible for the study. Four patients were excluded; the study population included 44 patients: 23 within the Small Incision group, and 21 within the Long Incision group. The 11 BPI scores between the two groups showed no significant difference. Small Incision group presented higher operative time than Long Incision group (138.69 vs. 112.14 minutes; P = 0.0001) while no significant differences were found regarding length of hospital stay (P = 0.95); respiratory complications (P = 0.92); FEV1% (P = 0.63), and 6-Minute Walking Test (P = 0.77).

Conclusions: A larger incision for uniportal VATS lobectomy significantly reduced the operative time due to better exposure of the anatomical structures without increasing postoperative pain or affecting the surgical outcome.

Key Points: A larger incision for uniportal VATS lobectomy significantly reduced the operative time due to better exposure of the anatomical structures without increasing postoperative pain or affecting the surgical outcome. To perform a larger incision could be a valuable strategy, particularly in nonexpert hands or when the patient's anatomy or tumor size make exposure of anatomic structures through smaller incisions difficult.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1759-7714.13291DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7327668PMC
July 2020

MRI reveals different Crohn's disease phenotypes in children and adults.

Eur Radiol 2019 Sep 7;29(9):5082-5092. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Neuropsychiatry, Sapienza University of Rome, Policlinico Umberto I Hospital, Viale del Policlinico, 155, 00161, Rome, Italy.

Objectives: To identify differences between two cohorts of adult and pediatric patients affected by Crohn's disease (CD), with regard to lesion location in the small intestine and colon-rectum, lesion activity, and prevalence of perianal disease (PD), using MRI as the main diagnostic tool.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 350 consecutive MRI examinations performed between 2013 and 2016 in outpatients or inpatients with histologically proven CD, monitored by the Gastroenterology and Pediatric Units of our Hospital. The magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) protocol for adult and pediatric CD patients routinely includes evaluation of nine different intestinal segments (from jejunum to rectum) and of the anal canal. Intestinal activity was also calculated using a validated score. Perianal disease (PD) was staged. Fisher's exact test was used and the odds ratio (OR) was calculated.

Results: Two hundred and nineteen out of 350 MRI studies (118 adults and 101 children) were included. The prevalence of PD was 34.6% in children and 16.1% in adults (OR = 2.8; p = 0.0017). Pediatric patients showed more frequent rectal involvement (29.7% vs 13.5%, OR = 2.7; p = 0.0045) and higher risk of PD in the presence of rectal disease (p = 0.043; OR = 4.5). In pediatric patients with severe colorectal disease, the prevalence of PD was twofold (86.7% vs 40%; p = 0.072). Using the clinical Montreal classification for lesion location, no significant differences emerged between the two patient populations.

Conclusions: MRI showed a significantly higher prevalence of rectal involvement and perianal disease in the pediatric population. These results may have a relevant clinical impact and deserve further investigation.

Key Points: • To our knowledge, this is the largest morphological comparative study available in the literature using MRI as the main diagnostic tool to compare adult patients and children with Crohn's disease. • Our study showed significant differences between adults and children: a higher prevalence of rectal and perianal fistulous disease (PD) in pediatric patients and an increased prevalence of PD in the presence of severe colon-rectum involvement. • The association of rectal and perianal disease implies a poorer clinical prognosis and a higher risk of disabling complications in pediatric patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00330-019-6006-5DOI Listing
September 2019

Incidence and Recurrence of Portal Vein Thrombosis in Cirrhotic Patients.

Thromb Haemost 2019 Mar 7;119(3):496-499. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

I Clinica Medica, Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1676981DOI Listing
March 2019

Differential Redox State Contributes to Sex Disparities in the Response to Influenza Virus Infection in Male and Female Mice.

Front Immunol 2018 30;9:1747. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Pasteur Institute Cenci Bolognetti Foundation, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Influenza virus replicates intracellularly exploiting several pathways involved in the regulation of host responses. The outcome and the severity of the infection are thus strongly conditioned by multiple host factors, including age, sex, metabolic, and redox conditions of the target cells. Hormones are also important determinants of host immune responses to influenza and are recently proposed in the prophylaxis and treatment. This study shows that female mice are less susceptible than males to mouse-adapted influenza virus (A/PR8/H1N1). Compared with males, PR8-infected females display higher survival rate (+36%), milder clinical disease, and less weight loss. They also have milder histopathological signs, especially free alveolar area is higher than that in males, even if pro-inflammatory cytokine production shows slight differences between sexes; hormone levels, moreover, do not vary significantly with infection in our model. Importantly, viral loads (both in terms of viral M1 RNA copies and tissue culture infectious dose 50%) are lower in PR8-infected females. An analysis of the mechanisms contributing to sex disparities observed during infection reveals that the female animals have higher total antioxidant power in serum and their lungs are characterized by increase in (i) the content and biosynthesis of glutathione, (ii) the expression and activity of antioxidant enzymes (peroxiredoxin 1, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase), and (iii) the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. By contrast, infected males are characterized by high expression of NADPH oxidase 4 oxidase and phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, both enzymes promoting viral replication. All these factors are critical for cell homeostasis and susceptibility to infection. Reappraisal of the importance of the host cell redox state and sex-related effects may be useful in the attempt to develop more tailored therapeutic interventions in the fight against influenza.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.01747DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6077261PMC
September 2019

Correction to: Major adverse cardiovascular events in non-valvular atrial fibrillation with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the ARAPACIS study.

Intern Emerg Med 2018 12;13(8):1349

Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, Clinica Medica, Atherothrombosis Center, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale del Policlinico 155, 00161, Rome, Italy.

In the original publication, one of the ARAPACIS collaborators Dr. "Leonardo Di Gennaro" name has been erroneously mentioned as "Leonardo De Gennaro".
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-018-1922-yDOI Listing
December 2018

Neurophysiological correlates of bradykinesia in Parkinson's disease.

Brain 2018 08;141(8):2432-2444

Department of Human Neurosciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

Many neurophysiological abnormalities have been described in the primary motor cortex of patients with Parkinson's disease. However, it is unclear whether there is any relationship between them and bradykinesia, one of the cardinal motor features of the condition. In the present study we aimed to investigate whether objective measures of bradykinesia in Parkinson's disease have any relationship with neurophysiological measures in primary motor cortex as assessed by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques. Twenty-two patients with Parkinson's disease and 18 healthy subjects were enrolled. Objective measurements of repetitive finger tapping (amplitude, speed and decrement) were obtained using a motion analysis system. The excitability of primary motor cortex was assessed by recording the input/output curve of the motor-evoked potentials and using a conditioning-test paradigm for the assessment of short-interval intracortical inhibition and facilitation. Plasticity-like mechanisms in primary motor cortex were indexed according to the amplitude changes in motor-evoked potentials after the paired associative stimulation protocol. Patients were assessed in two sessions, i.e. OFF and ON medication. A canonical correlation analysis was used to test for relationships between the kinematic and neurophysiological variables. Patients with Parkinson's disease tapped more slowly and with smaller amplitude than normal, and displayed decrement as tapping progressed. They also had steeper input/output curves, reduced short-interval intracortical inhibition and a reduced response to the paired associative stimulation protocol. Within the patient group, bradykinesia features correlated with the slope of the input/output curve and the after-effects of the paired associative stimulation protocol. Although dopaminergic therapy improved movement kinematics as well as neurophysiological measures, there was no relationship between them. In conclusion, neurophysiological changes in primary motor cortex relate to bradykinesia in patients with Parkinson's disease, although other mechanisms sensitive to dopamine levels must also play a role.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awy155DOI Listing
August 2018

Major adverse cardiovascular events in non-valvular atrial fibrillation with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the ARAPACIS study.

Intern Emerg Med 2018 08 26;13(5):651-660. Epub 2018 Mar 26.

Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, Clinica Medica, Atherothrombosis Center, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale del Policlinico 155, 00161, Rome, Italy.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increases the risk of mortality in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients. Data on the relationship of COPD to major cardiovascular events (MACE) in AF have not been defined. The aim of the study is to assess the predictive value of COPD on incident MACE in NVAF patients over a 3-year follow-up. In the Atrial Fibrillation Registry for Ankle-Brachial Index Prevalence Assessment-Collaborative Italian Study (ARAPACIS) cohort, we evaluate the impact of COPD on the following clinical endpoints: MACE (including vascular death, fatal/non-fatal MI and stroke/TIA), cardiovascular (CV) death and all-cause mortality. Among 2027 NVAF patients, patients with COPD (9%) are more commonly male, elderly and at higher thromboembolic risk. During a median 36.0 months follow-up, 186 patients experienced MACE: vascular death (n = 72), MI (n = 57), stroke/TIA (n = 57). All major outcomes (including stroke/TIA, MI, vascular death, and all-cause death) are centrally adjudicated. Kaplan-Meier curves show that NVAF patients with COPD are at higher risk for MACE (p < 0.001), CV death (p < 0.001) and all-cause death (p < 0.001). On Cox proportional hazard analysis, COPD is an independent predictor of MACE (Hazard ratio [HR] 1.77, 95% Confidence Intervals [CI] 1.20-2.61; p = 0.004), CV death (HR 2.73, 95% CI 1.76-4.23; p < 0.0001) and all-cause death (HR 2.16, 95% CI 1.48-3.16; p < 0.0001). COPD is an independent predictor of MACE, CV death and all-cause death during a long-term follow-up of NVAF patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-018-1835-9DOI Listing
August 2018

Epstein-Barr virus lytic infection promotes activation of Toll-like receptor 8 innate immune response in systemic sclerosis monocytes.

Arthritis Res Ther 2017 02 28;19(1):39. Epub 2017 Feb 28.

Rheumatology, Boston University School of Medicine, Arthritis Center, 72 E. Concord Street, E-5, Boston, MA, 02118, USA.

Background: Monocytes/macrophages are activated in several autoimmune diseases, including systemic sclerosis (scleroderma; SSc), with increased expression of interferon (IFN)-regulatory genes and inflammatory cytokines, suggesting dysregulation of the innate immune response in autoimmunity. In this study, we investigated whether the lytic form of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection (infectious EBV) is present in scleroderma monocytes and contributes to their activation in SSc.

Methods: Monocytes were isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) depleted of the CD19+ cell fraction, using CD14/CD16 negative-depletion. Circulating monocytes from SSc and healthy donors (HDs) were infected with EBV. Gene expression of innate immune mediators were evaluated in EBV-infected monocytes from SSc and HDs. Involvement of Toll-like receptor (TLR)8 in viral-mediated TLR8 response was investigated by comparing the TLR8 expression induced by infectious EBV to the expression stimulated by CL075/TLR8/agonist-ligand in the presence of TLR8 inhibitor in THP-1 cells.

Results: Infectious EBV strongly induced TLR8 expression in infected SSc and HD monocytes in vitro. Markers of activated monocytes, such as IFN-regulated genes and chemokines, were upregulated in SSc- and HD-EBV-infected monocytes. Inhibiting TLR8 expression reduced virally induced TLR8 in THP-1 infected cells, demonstrating that innate immune activation by infectious EBV is partially dependent on TLR8. Viral mRNA and proteins were detected in freshly isolated SSc monocytes. Microarray analysis substantiated the evidence of an increased IFN signature and altered level of TLR8 expression in SSc monocytes carrying infectious EBV compared to HD monocytes.

Conclusion: This study provides the first evidence of infectious EBV in monocytes from patients with SSc and links EBV to the activation of TLR8 and IFN innate immune response in freshly isolated SSc monocytes. This study provides the first evidence of EBV replication activating the TLR8 molecular pathway in primary monocytes. Immunogenicity of infectious EBV suggests a novel mechanism mediating monocyte inflammation in SSc, by which EBV triggers the innate immune response in infected cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13075-017-1237-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5331713PMC
February 2017

Carotid plaque detection improves the predictive value of CHADS-VASc score in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation: The ARAPACIS Study.

Int J Cardiol 2017 Mar 4;231:143-149. Epub 2017 Jan 4.

See Appendix A.

Background And Aims: Vascular disease (VD), as assessed by history of myocardial infarction or peripheral artery disease or aortic plaque, increases stroke risk in atrial fibrillation (AF), and is a component of risk assessment using the CHADS-VASc score. We investigated if systemic atherosclerosis as detected by ultrasound carotid plaque (CP) could improve the predictive value of the CHADS-VASc score.

Methods: We analysed data from the ARAPACIS study, an observational study including 2027 Italian patients with non-valvular AF, in whom CP was detected using Doppler Ultrasonography.

Results: VD was reported in 351 (17.3%) patients while CP was detected in 16.6% patients. Adding CP to the VD definition leaded to higher VD prevalence (30.9%). During a median [IQR] follow-up time of 36months, 56 (2.8%) stroke/TIA events were recorded. Survival analysis showed that conventional VD alone did not increase the risk of stroke (Log-Rank: 0.009, p=0.924), while addition of CP to conventional VD was significantly associated to an increased risk of stroke (LR: 5.730, p=0.017). Cox regression analysis showed that VD+CP was independently associated with stroke (HR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.05-3.01, p=0.0318). Reclassification analysis showed that VD+CP allowed a significant risk reclassification when compared to VD alone in predicting stroke at 36months (NRI: 0.192, 95% CI: 0.028-0.323, p=0.032).

Conclusions: In non-valvular AF patients the addition of ultrasound detection of carotid plaque to conventional VD significantly increases the predictive value of CHADS-VASc score for stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.01.001DOI Listing
March 2017

Regulatory T cells with multiple suppressive and potentially pro-tumor activities accumulate in human colorectal cancer.

Oncoimmunology 2016 Jul 25;5(7):e1175800. Epub 2016 Apr 25.

Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialità Mediche, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy; Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Rome, Italy.

Tregs can contribute to tumor progression by suppressing antitumor immunity. Exceptionally, in human colorectal cancer (CRC), Tregs are thought to exert beneficial roles in controlling pro-tumor chronic inflammation. The goal of our study was to characterize CRC-infiltrating Tregs at multiple levels, by phenotypical, molecular and functional evaluation of Tregs from the tumor site, compared to non-tumoral mucosa and peripheral blood of CRC patients. The frequency of Tregs was higher in mucosa than in blood, and further significantly increased in tumor. Ex vivo, those Tregs suppressed the proliferation of tumor-infiltrating CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. A differential compartmentalization was detected between Helios(high) and Helios(low) Treg subsets (thymus-derived versus peripherally induced): while Helios(low) Tregs were enriched in both sites, only Helios(high) Tregs accumulated significantly and specifically in tumors, displayed a highly demethylated TSDR region and contained high proportions of cells expressing CD39 and OX40, markers of activation and suppression. Besides the suppression of T cells, Tregs may contribute to CRC progression also through releasing IL-17, or differentiating into Tfr cells that potentially antagonize a protective Tfh response, events that were both detected in tumor-associated Tregs. Overall, our data indicate that Treg accumulation may contribute through multiple mechanisms to CRC establishment and progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2016.1175800DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5006916PMC
July 2016

Correlation among periodontal health status, maternal age and pre-term low birth weight.

Am J Dent 2016 Aug;29(4):197-200

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: To assess correlations between periodontal status, maternal age and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as pre-term and low birth weight in a sample of pregnant women.

Methods: Study population was represented by outpatient pregnant women, gestational age > 26 weeks. Medical history questionnaires were administered to all participants who underwent clinical evaluation; clinical obstetric outcome records were collected after delivery. A questionnaire was administered regarding personal information, socio-economic status, oral hygiene habits, and oral health conditions. A clinical oral examination was performed to collect Simplified Oral Hygiene Index (OHI-S) and Community Periodontal Index (CPI). Pregnancy outcome records included: delivery week, kind and causes of delivery, any relevant complications, and birth weight. Descriptive statistics were used to depict the data from the questionnaire while the relationship between delivery week, birth weight, maternal age and periodontal status was evaluated through multivariate tests of significance.

Results: 88 pregnant women were enrolled in the study. The results showed a statistically significant correlation (P< 0.001) among participants older than 40 years of age, between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes. No statistical correlation was found among pre-term and low birth weight, smoking, ethnicity and educational level of mothers. The results highlight the importance of including a routine oral and periodontal health examination in pregnant women older than 40 years of age.

Clinical Significance: The correlation between periodontal status and adverse pregnancy outcomes in older mothers indicates the need for routine oral health examination and periodontal status assessment and care in pregnant women older than 40 years of age.
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August 2016

Ankle-Brachial Index and cardiovascular events in atrial fibrillation. The ARAPACIS Study.

Thromb Haemost 2016 Apr 7;115(4):856-63. Epub 2016 Jan 7.

Prof. Francesco Violi, I Clinica Medica, Sapienza-University of Rome, Viale del Policlinico 155, Rome, 00161, Italy, Tel.: +39 06 4461933, Fax: +39 06 49970103, E-mail:

Atrial fibrillation (AF) patients are at high risk for thrombotic and vascular events related to their cardiac arrhythmia and underlying systemic atherosclerosis. Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) is a non-invasive tool in evaluating systemic atherosclerosis, useful in predicting cardiovascular events in general population; no data are available in AF patients. ARAPACIS is a prospective multicentre observational study performed by the Italian Society of Internal Medicine, analysing association between low ABI (≤ 0.90) and vascular events in NVAF out- or in-patients, enrolled in 136 Italian centres. A total of 2,027 non-valvular AF (NVAF) patients aged > 18 years from both sexes followed for a median time of 34.7 (interquartile range: 22.0-36.0) months, yielding a total of 4,614 patient-years of observation. Mean age was 73 ± 10 years old with 55 % male patients. A total of 176 patients (8.7 %) experienced a vascular event, with a cumulative incidence of 3.81 %/patient-year. ABI≤ 0.90 was more prevalent in patients with a vascular event compared with patients free of vascular events (32.2 vs 20.2 %, p< 0.05). On Cox proportional hazard analysis, ABI≤ 0.90 was an independent predictor of vascular events (hazard ratio (HR): 1.394, 95 % confidence interval (CI): 1.042-1.866; p=0.02), vascular death (HR: 2.047, 95 % CI: 1.255-3.338; p=0.004) and MI (HR: 2.709, 95 % CI: 1.485-5.083; p=0.001). This latter association was also confirmed after excluding patients with previous MI (HR: 2.901, 95 % CI: 1.408-5.990, p=0.004). No association was observed between low ABI and stroke/transient ischaemic attack (p=0.91). In conclusion, low ABI is useful to predict MI and vascular death in NVAF patients and may independently facilitate cardiovascular risk assessment in NVAF patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1160/TH15-07-0612DOI Listing
April 2016

Are ESPGHAN "biopsy-sparing" guidelines for celiac disease also suitable for asymptomatic patients?

Am J Gastroenterol 2015 Oct 15;110(10):1485-9. Epub 2015 Sep 15.

Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Gastroenterology and Liver Unit, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Objectives: In 2012, European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition published novel guidelines on celiac disease (CD) diagnosis. Symptomatic children with serum anti-transglutaminase (anti-tTG) antibody levels ≥10 times upper limit of normal (ULN) could avoid duodenal biopsies after positive HLA test and serum anti-endomysial antibodies (EMAs). So far, both asymptomatic and symptomatic patients with anti-tTG titer <10 times ULN should undergo upper endoscopy with duodenal biopsies to confirm diagnosis. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of serological tests to diagnose CD in asymptomatic patients.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed data of 286 patients (age range: 10 months to 17 years) with CD diagnosis based on elevated titer of anti-tTG, EMA positivity, and histology. All patients were distinguished between symptomatic and asymptomatic; histological lesions were graded according to the Marsh-Oberhuber (MO) criteria. Fisher exact test was applied to analyze both groups in terms of diagnostic reliability of serological markers.

Results: A total of 196 patients (68.53%) had anti-tTG titers ≥10 times ULN. Among them, a group of 156 patients (79.59%) also had symptoms suggestive of CD ("high-titer" symptomatic); of these, 142 patients (91.02%) showed severe lesion degree (3a, 3b, 3c MO). Conversely, 40 out of 196 patients (20.40%) were asymptomatic ("high-titer" asymptomatic) and 37 patients (92.5%) of them showed severe lesion degree (3a, 3b, 3c MO). No difference in histological damage was found between "high-titer" symptomatic and "high-titer" asymptomatic children (Fisher exact test, P=1.000).

Conclusions: If confirmed in large multicenter prospective studies, the "biopsy-sparing" protocol seems to be applicable to both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients with anti-tTG titer ≥10 times ULN, positive EMA, and HLA-DQ2/DQ8.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ajg.2015.285DOI Listing
October 2015

CD8+ T Cells Specific to Apoptosis-Associated Antigens Predict the Response to Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

PLoS One 2015 10;10(6):e0128607. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialità Mediche, Sapienza Università di Roma, Viale del Policlinico 155, 00161 Rome, Italy.

CD8+ T cells specific to caspase-cleaved antigens derived from apoptotic T cells (apoptotic epitopes) represent a principal player in chronic immune activation, which is known to amplify immunopathology in various inflammatory diseases. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship involving these autoreactive T cells, the rheumatoid arthritis immunopathology, and the response to tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor therapy. The frequency of autoreactive CD8+ T cells specific to various apoptotic epitopes, as detected by both enzyme-linked immunospot assay and dextramers of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules complexed with relevant apoptotic epitopes, was longitudinally analyzed in the peripheral blood of rheumatoid arthritis patients who were submitted to etanercept treatment (or other tumor necrosis factor inhibitors as a control). The percentage of apoptotic epitope-specific CD8+ T cells was significantly higher in rheumatoid arthritis patients than in healthy donors, and correlated with the disease activity. More important, it was significantly more elevated in responders to tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor therapy than in non-responders before the start of therapy; it significantly dropped only in the former following therapy. These data indicate that apoptotic epitope-specific CD8+ T cells may be involved in rheumatoid arthritis immunopathology through the production of inflammatory cytokines and that they may potentially represent a predictive biomarker of response to tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor therapy to validate in a larger cohort of patients.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0128607PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4465029PMC
March 2016

Spider surgical system versus multiport laparoscopic surgery: performance comparison on a surgical simulator.

BMC Surg 2015 May 3;15:54. Epub 2015 May 3.

Department of Surgical Sciences Policlinico "Umberto I, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena, 324, Rome, Italy.

Background: The rising interest towards minimally invasive surgery has led to the introduction of laparo-endoscopic single site (LESS) surgery as the natural evolution of conventional multiport laparoscopy. However, this new surgical approach is hampered with peculiar technical difficulties. The SPIDER surgical system has been developed in the attempt to overcome some of these challenges. Our study aimed to compare standard laparoscopy and SPIDER technical performance on a surgical simulator, using standardized tasks from the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS).

Methods: Twenty participants were divided into two groups based on their surgical laparoscopic experience: 10 PGY1 residents were included in the inexperienced group and 10 laparoscopists in the experienced group. Participants performed the FLS pegboard transfers task and pattern cutting task on a laparoscopic box trainer. Objective task scores and subjective questionnaire rating scales were used to compare conventional laparoscopy and SPIDER surgical system.

Results: Both groups performed significantly better in the FLS scores on the standard laparoscopic simulator compared to the SPIDER. Inexperienced group: Task 1 scores (median 252.5 vs. 228.5; p = 0.007); Task 2 scores (median 270.5 vs. 219.0; p = 0.005). Experienced group: Task 1 scores (median 411.5 vs. 309.5; p = 0.005); Task 2 scores (median 418.0 vs. 331.5; p = 0.007). Same aspects were highlighted for the subjective evaluations, except for the inexperienced surgeons who found both devices equivalent in terms of ease of use only in the peg transfer task.

Conclusions: Even though the SPIDER is an innovative and promising device, our study proved that it is more challenging than conventional laparoscopy in a population with different degrees of surgical experience. We presume that a possible way to overcome such challenges could be the development of tailored training programs through simulation methods. This may represent an effective way to deliver training, achieve mastery and skills and prepare surgeons for their future clinical experience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12893-015-0038-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4428287PMC
May 2015

Relationship between carotid intima-media thickness and non valvular atrial fibrillation type.

Atherosclerosis 2015 Feb 20;238(2):350-5. Epub 2014 Dec 20.

I Clinica Medica, Sapienza-University of Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Objective: Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is a surrogate marker of subclinical atherosclerosis and it is able to predict both coronary and cerebral vascular events. No data exist on the association between cIMT and non valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) type. We conduct this study with the aim to analyze the association between abnormal cIMT and NVAF type.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of the "Atrial fibrillation Registry for Ankle-brachial index Prevalence Assessment-Collaborative Italian Study (ARAPACIS)" has been performed. Among 2027 patients enrolled in the ARAPACIS, 673 patients, who underwent carotid ultrasound examination to assess cIMT, were included in the study.

Results: Among the entire population, 478 patients (71%) had cIMT > 0.90 mm. Patients with an abnormal cIMT (>0.90 mm) were significantly older and more likely hypertensive, diabetic and with a previous history of stroke than those with normal cIMT (≤0.90 mm). These patients had more permanent/persistent NVAF and CHA2DS2-VASc score ≥ 2 (p < 0.0001) compared to those with cIMT <0.90 mm. Excluding all patients affected by previous cardiovascular disease, logistic regression analysis showed that independent predictors of abnormal cIMT were: age class 65-74 yrs. (p < 0.001), age class ≥75 yrs. (p < 0.001), arterial hypertension (p < 0.001), calcium-channel blockers use (p < 0.001) and persistent/permanent NVAF (p = 0.001).

Conclusion: Our findings show a high prevalence of abnormal cIMT in NVAF patients, reinforcing the concept that NVAF and systemic atherosclerosis are closely associated. Abnormal cIMT was particularly evident in persistent/permanent NVAF suggesting a more elevated atherosclerotic burden in patients with long-standing NVAF.

Trial Registration: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01161251.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.12.022DOI Listing
February 2015

Taste and olfaction in middle ear surgery.

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2015 Apr 30;124(4):312-6. Epub 2014 Oct 30.

Organi di Senso Department, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess pre- and postoperative taste ability in patients undergoing middle ear surgery for otosclerosis or chronic otitis media. Olfactory function was also evaluated to rule out taste deficits due to concomitant nasal pathology.

Methods: All patients underwent ear, nose, and throat examination, otomicroscopy, nasal endoscopy, anterior rhinomanometry, taste testing, and olfactory testing. Patients were evaluated at 1 to 5 days preoperatively (T0), and at 1 (T1), 6 (T6), and 12 (T12) months postoperatively.

Results: Both groups of patients experienced worsening of the mean taste threshold postoperatively. This phenomenon was more serious in poststapedotomy patients. Follow-up showed progressive improvement in both groups. All values of olfactory testing were within the normal range for otosclerosis patients. Patients with chronic otitis media showed variable postoperative findings.

Conclusion: Chorda tympani function can be negatively affected by middle ear surgery. Deficits may be more marked in stapedotomy patients than in those undergoing tympanoplasty. Postoperative recovery of taste is satisfactory, although with different timelines for the 2 types of pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0003489414555900DOI Listing
April 2015

Medication prescription and adherence disparities in non valvular atrial fibrillation patients: an Italian portrait from the ARAPACIS study.

Intern Emerg Med 2014 Dec 3;9(8):861-70. Epub 2014 Jul 3.

First Medical Clinic, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) represents a major health-care problem, needing an extensive and strict thrombosis prevention for stroke and cardiovascular (CV) disease risks. NVAF management guidelines recommend adequate antithrombotic and anti-atherosclerotic therapies. Medication adherence has been recognized as a pivotal element in health quality promotion and in the achievement of better clinical outcomes. We conducted a post-hoc analysis of the "Atrial fibrillation Registry for Ankle-brachial index Prevalence Assessment-Collaborative Italian Study (ARAPACIS)" with the aim of discerning differences in pharmacological management and medication adherence among NVAF Italian patients. Furthermore, data were analysed according to Italian geographical macro-regions (North, Center, South) to evaluate whether socioeconomic conditions might also influence medication adherence. Thus, we selected 1,366 NVAF patients that fulfilled the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale-4 items. Regional disparities in drug prescriptions were observed. In particular, in high-risk patients (CHA2DS2-VASc ≥2) oral anticoagulants were more prescribed in Northern and Center patients (61 and 60 %, respectively) compared to 53 % of high-risk Southern patients. Also, medication adherence showed a progressive decrease from North to South (78 vs. 60 %, p < 0.001). This disparity was independent of the number of drugs consumed for any reason, since prevalence of poly-therapy among the three macro-regions was similar. Our results show regional differences in NVAF patients' antithrombotic management and medication adherence, potentially reflecting well-known disparities in socioeconomic status among Italian regions. Future interventions promoting campaigns to global health-care education may be desirable to improve clinical outcomes in NVAF patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-014-1096-1DOI Listing
December 2014

Does the return to work have a negative impact on the lifestyle of cardiovascular patients? Comments on the ICAROS results.

Int J Cardiol 2014 Jun 6;174(1):193-4. Epub 2014 Apr 6.

Department of Public Health and Infections Disease, Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.03.174DOI Listing
June 2014

Recipient perioperative cholesterolaemia and graft cholesterol metabolism gene expression predict liver transplant outcome.

Liver Int 2014 Aug 20;34(7):e290-301. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Clinical Medicine, University "Sapienza" of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Background & Aims: We analysed for the first time whether recipient perioperative serum total cholesterol (sTC) concentration is associated with liver transplantation outcome.

Methods: We studied noncholestatic cirrhotics submitted to primary deceased-donor liver transplantation in a prospective group (n=140) from Rome and in a validation retrospective cohort (n=157) from Udine, Italy. Pre-ischaemia and post-reperfusion cholesterol metabolism gene mRNA was measured by RT-PCR in 74 grafts of the study group.

Results: At Cox regression analysis, independently from confounders including recipient MELD score, the recipient pre-operative sTC pooled quintiles 2-5, compared with the lowest quintile showed HR (95% CI) and significances for overall graft loss (GL) of 0.215 (0.104-0.444) P<0.001 in the study group and 0.319 (0.167-0.610) P=0.001 in the validation cohort. Analysing sTC as a continuous variable, the risk of overall GL for every 10-mg/dl decrease in pre-operative sTC increased by 13% and by 9% in the study group and in the validation cohort respectively. In the study group, independent associations at multivariate analyses were: (a) high graft pre-ischaemia expression of INSIG-1, which indicates hepatocellular cholesterol depletion, with post-reperfusion graft necrosis; (b) GL with inadequate graft post-reperfusion response to cholesterol depletion, shown by a failure to reduce the PCSK9 to LDLR expression ratio; (c) GL with a relative increase of sTC on post-operative day-7, selectively because of the LDL fraction, which indirectly suggests poor cholesterol uptake from blood.

Conclusions: Low recipient pre-transplant sTC concentration, its post-operative day-7 increase and a genetically determined low graft cholesterol availability predict poor liver transplant outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.12351DOI Listing
August 2014

Prevalence and 1-year prognosis of transient heart failure following coronary revascularization.

Intern Emerg Med 2014 Sep 22;9(6):641-7. Epub 2013 Oct 22.

Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Unit, Le Terrazze Clinic, Cunardo, Italy,

The occurrence of heart failure during the whole pre-discharge course of coronary revascularization, as far as its influence on subsequent prognosis, is poorly understood. The present study examined the effect of transient heart failure (THF) developing in the acute and rehabilitative phase on survival after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Patients in the Italian survey on cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention after cardiac revascularization (ICAROS) were analyzed for THF, the latter being defined either as signs and symptoms consistent with decompensation or cardiogenic shock. ICAROS was a prospective, multicenter registry of 1,262 consecutive patients discharged from 62 cardiac rehabilitation (CR) facilities, providing data on risk factors, lifestyle habits, drug treatments, and major cardiovascular events (MACE) during a 1-year follow-up. Records were linked to the official website of the Italian Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (GICR-IACPR). The overall prevalence of pre-discharge THF was 7.6%, with 69.8% of cases in acute wards, 22.9% during CR, and 7.3% in both settings. THF affected more frequently patients with chronic cardiac condition (42.7 vs. 30.6%; p < 0.05), age ≥75 years (33.3 vs. 23.1%; p < 0.005), COPD (19.8 vs. 12.3%; p < 0.05), and chronic kidney disease (17.7 vs. 7%; p < 0.001). After discharge, THF patients showed good maintenance rates of RAAS modulators (90.6%) and beta-blockers (83.3%), while statin therapy significantly decreased from 81.3 to 64.6% (p < 0.05). The pursuit of secondary prevention targets, as far as self-reported drug adherence, was not different among groups. Patients with THF had increased 1-year mortality (8.3 vs. 1.6%, p < 0.001). Moreover, THF independently predicted adverse outcome with OR for recurrent events (mainly further episodes of decompensation) of 2.4 (CI 1.4-4.3). Patients who experienced THF after coronary revascularization had increased post-discharge mortality and cardiovascular events. Hemodynamic instability, rather than recurrent myocardial ischemia, seems to be linked with worse prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-013-1006-yDOI Listing
September 2014

Can virtual reality simulators be a certification tool for bariatric surgeons?

Surg Endosc 2014 Jan 31;28(1):242-8. Epub 2013 Aug 31.

Department of Surgical Sciences, Policlinico "Umberto I", "Sapienza" - University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena 324, 00161, Rome, Italy,

Background: Construct validity of virtual laparoscopic simulators for basic laparoscopic skills has been proposed; however, it is not yet clear whether the simulators can identify the actual experience of surgeons in more complex procedures such as laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This study tested the ability of the Lap Mentor simulator to recognize the experience in advanced laparoscopic procedures and to assess its role in the certification of bariatric surgeons.

Methods: Twenty surgeons were divided into two groups according to their experience in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. The general group included 10 general surgeons performing between 75 and 100 nonbariatric laparoscopic procedures. The bariatric group included 10 bariatric surgeons performing between 50 and 100 laparoscopic bariatric procedures. Participants were tested on the simulator in one basic task (task 1: eye-hand coordination) and in two tasks of the gastric bypass module (task 2: creation of the gastric pouch; task 3: gastrojejunal anastomosis).

Results: Comparing the groups, no significant differences were found in task 1. Analyzing the results from the gastric bypass module (bariatric vs. general), in task 2, significant differences (p < 0.05) were found in the median volume of the gastric pouch (21 vs. 48 cm(3)), in the percentage of fundus included in the pouch (8.4 vs. 29.4 %), in the complete dissection at the angle of His (10 vs. 3), and in safety parameters. In task 3, significant differences were found in the size and position of enterotomies.

Conclusions: The Lap Mentor may be proposed as a certification tool for bariatric surgeons because it also recognizes their specific skills in the technical details of the procedure that affect long-term results. Furthermore, the possibility of analyzing the performance in detail can help define areas where the surgeon is lacking. These findings indicate a potential role of the Lap Mentor in tailoring the training to maximize improvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00464-013-3179-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3889499PMC
January 2014

Preliminary results of an intravitreal dexamethasone implant (Ozurdex®) in patients with persistent diabetic macular edema.

Clin Ophthalmol 2013 16;7:1423-8. Epub 2013 Jul 16.

Department of Sense Organs, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Background: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of an intravitreal dexamethasone implant (Ozurdex®; Allergan Inc, Irvine, CA, USA) in patients with persistent diabetic macular edema (DME) over a 6-month follow-up period.

Methods: Seventeen patients (20 eyes) affected by DME were selected. The mean age was 67 + 8 years, and the mean duration of DME was 46.3 + 18.6 months. The eligibility criteria were: age ≥ 18, a best-corrected visual acuity between 5 and 40 letters, and macular edema with a thickness of ≥275 μm. Thirteen patients had also previously been treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medication.

Results: The mean ETDRS (Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study) value went from 18.80 + 11.06 (T0) to 26.15 + 11.03 (P = 0.04), 28.15 + 10.29 (P = 0.0087), 25.95 + 10.74 (P = 0.045), 21.25 + 11.46 (P = 0.5) in month 1, 3, 4, and 6, respectively. The mean logMAR (logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution) value went from 0.67 + 0.23 (at T0) to 0.525 + 0.190 (P = 0.03), 0.53 + 0.20 (P = 0.034), and 0.56 + 0.22 (P = 0.12) in month 1, 3, and 4, respectively, to finally reach 0.67 + 0.23 in month 6. The mean central macular thickness value improved from 518.80 + 224.75 μm (at T0) to 412.75 + 176.23 μm, 292.0 + 140.8 μm (P < 0.0001), and 346.95 + 135.70 (P = 0.0018) on day 3 and in month 1 and 3, respectively, to then increase to 476.55 + 163.14 μm (P = 0.45) and 494.25 + 182.70 μm (P = 0.67) in month 4 and 6.

Conclusion: The slow-release intravitreal dexamethasone implant, Ozurdex, produced significant improvements in best-corrected visual acuity and central macular thickness from the third day of implant in DME sufferers, and this improvement was sustained until the third month.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S48364DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3720664PMC
July 2013

Morphometry of the suprascapular notch: correlation with scapular dimensions and clinical relevance.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2013 May 24;14:172. Epub 2013 May 24.

Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Rome Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Background: Better knowledge of the suprascapular notch anatomy may help to prevent and to assess more accurately suprascapular nerve entrapment syndrome. Our purposes were to verify the reliability of the existing data, to assess the differences between the two genders, to verify the correlation between the dimensions of the scapula and the suprascapular notch, and to investigate the relationship between the suprascapular notch and the postero-superior limit of the safe zone for the suprascapular nerve.

Methods: We examined 500 dried scapulae, measuring seven distances related to the scapular body and suprascapular notch; they were also catalogued according to gender, age and side. Suprascapular notch was classified in accordance with Rengachary's method. For each class, we also took into consideration the width/depth ratio. Furthermore, Pearson's correlation was calculated.

Results: The frequencies were: Type I 12.4%, Type II 19.8%, Type III 22.8%, Type IV 31.1%, Type V 10.2%, Type VI 3.6%. Width and depth did not demonstrate a statistical significant difference when analyzed according to gender and side; however, a significant difference was found between the depth means elaborated according to median age (73 y.o.). Correlation indexes were weak or not statistically significant. The differences among the postero-superior limits of the safe zone in the six types of notches was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Patient's characteristics (gender, age and scapular dimensions) are not related to the characteristics of the suprascapular notch (dimensions and Type); our data suggest that the entrapment syndrome is more likely to be associated with a Type III notch because of its specific features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-14-172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3674975PMC
May 2013

Effectiveness of clinical guidelines in the management of acute sigmoid diverticulitis. Results of a prospective diagnostic and therapeutic clinical trial.

Ann Ital Chir 2013 Mar-Apr;84(2):171-7

Background: Evidence-based criteria in the therapeutic choice for sigmoid acute diverticulitis (AD) are lacking. It is necessary to differentiate an acute episode of diverticular disease, not complicated (NCAD) and complicated (CAD) because these stages of diverticular disease needs different approach.

Methods: In a prospective study on 377 consecutive patients admitted for AD, 265 had NCAD and 112 CAD diagnosed with CT scan. Thirty-six of 265 with NCAD were operated on due to two or more previous episodes of AD. On 188 patients with NCAD followed-up, 35 had further episodes of NCAD and 2 had CAD. On 112 CAD patients, 61 had Hinchey I and were submitted to colonic resection. Twenty-three of 24 patients with Hinchey II were treated with percutaneous drainage. All Hinchey II patients were operated on. All the 13 patients with Hinchey III and IV had emergency surgery.

Results: We had no mortality and respectively 9.8% and 30% morbidity in Hinchey I and II patients. In Hinchey II patients percutaneous drainage was successful in 21 on 23 (91.3%). In 13 Hinchey III and IV patients the mortality rate was 25%. The comparison of CT findings and pathological results showed a sensitivity of 100% and predictive positive value of respectively 94.4, 96.7, 100 and 100% for NCAD, Hinchey I, Hinchey II and Hinchey III-IV.

Conclusions: The therapeutic approach of diverticular disease needs to differentiate among an acute episode, NCAD and CAD. Evidence-based therapeutic choices can be reached only by homogeneous diagnostic criteria obtained by CT scan.
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April 2016

Autonomous functioning thyroid nodules and 131I in diagnosis and therapy after 50 years of experience: what is still open to debate?

Clin Nucl Med 2013 May;38(5):349-53

Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialità Mediche, Unità di Medicina Nucleare, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy.

Purpose Of The Report: Autonomous functioning thyroid nodules (AFTN), defined as "hot nodules" at thyroid scan, are often cured by radioiodine treatment. The aim of our study was to investigate the long-term outcome in patients treated with an 131I calculated dose, to identify a possible "size-tailored" dose, and to simplify follow-up procedures.

Patients And Methods: Retrospective analysis was carried out on 1402 cases, covering a period of 50 years, of AFTN treated with an 131I calculated dose. Our study focused on nodular size and mean administered dose. Concordance between thyroid scan and serum TSH levels at 3-6 months from treatment was considered.

Results: A single 131I dose was effective for the vast majority of patients (93%). The outcome was influenced by nodular size. On the basis of the Italian dose limit for outpatient treatment, our population was divided into subgroups according to administered doses (more or less than 16 mCi) and nodular dimensions: no differences in outcome were observed for each class of nodule size. A dose ≤10 mCi was effective on the smaller nodules (50.1% of our population). The agreement between TSH and scan after treatment was 90.3% at 3 months and 94.5% at 6 months.

Conclusions: 131I therapy with a calculated dose is an effective treatment of AFTN. If a fixed dose is chosen, 16 mCi is often resolutive and for nodules <3 cm a dose of 10 mCi can suffice. Nodules >5 cm are eligible for surgery. TSH is the only parameter required to evaluate the outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/RLU.0b013e318286bbdaDOI Listing
May 2013

Play to become a surgeon: impact of Nintendo Wii training on laparoscopic skills.

PLoS One 2013 27;8(2):e57372. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Department of Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Background: Video-games have become an integral part of the new multimedia culture. Several studies assessed video-gaming enhancement of spatial attention and eye-hand coordination. Considering the technical difficulty of laparoscopic procedures, legal issues and time limitations, the validation of appropriate training even outside of the operating rooms is ongoing. We investigated the influence of a four-week structured Nintendo® Wii™ training on laparoscopic skills by analyzing performance metrics with a validated simulator (Lap Mentor™, Simbionix™).

Methodology/principal Findings: We performed a prospective randomized study on 42 post-graduate I-II year residents in General, Vascular and Endoscopic Surgery. All participants were tested on a validated laparoscopic simulator and then randomized to group 1 (Controls, no training with the Nintendo® Wii™), and group 2 (training with the Nintendo® Wii™) with 21 subjects in each group, according to a computer-generated list. After four weeks, all residents underwent a testing session on the laparoscopic simulator of the same tasks as in the first session. All 42 subjects in both groups improved significantly from session 1 to session 2. Compared to controls, the Wii group showed a significant improvement in performance (p<0.05) for 13 of the 16 considered performance metrics.

Conclusions/significance: The Nintendo® Wii™ might be helpful, inexpensive and entertaining part of the training of young laparoscopists, in addition to a standard surgical education based on simulators and the operating room.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0057372PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583870PMC
September 2013
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