Publications by authors named "Francesca Battista"

48 Publications

Can exercise test intensity and modality affect the prevalence of arrhythmic events in young athletes?

Res Sports Med 2021 Jun 3:1-9. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Sport and Exercise Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Pre-participation screening is performed to identify underlying cardiac conditions that may also lead to sudden cardiac death. Our aim is to compare submaximal Harvard Step Test (HST) with incremental Maximal Exercise Test (MET) on treadmill to induce and detect arrhythmias in younger athletes. A total of 1000 athletes (mean age 14.6 ± 4.7 years) were evaluated, 500 with MET and 500 with HST, all with continuous ECG monitoring until three minutes of recovery. Pre-test evaluation includes medical history, clinical evaluation and resting electrocardiogram. Ventricular and/or supraventricular arrhythmias were observed in 2.6% of athletes performing HST and in 8.4% during MET (p < 0.001). Incidence of arrhythmias remained higher for MET also considering separately exercise phase (0.8% vs. 5.2%; p < 0.001) and recovery phase (2.0% vs. 6.0%; p < 0.01). No gender differences were observed. Results suggest that MET induces more arrhythmias than submaximal HST, regardless of test phase. Higher test intensity and longer exercise duration might influence test outcomes, making MET more arrhythmogenic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15438627.2021.1937162DOI Listing
June 2021

Effect of exercise training before and after bariatric surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Obes Rev 2021 Jun 3:e13296. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

We aimed to assess the effectiveness of exercise training programs in adults with severe obesity undergoing bariatric surgery. A systematic search of controlled trials published up to October 2019 that assigned participants to either a preoperative or postoperative exercise training group or a nonexercise group was performed. Meta-analyses were conducted using random-effects models. Twenty-two training programs were assessed (18 performed after bariatric surgery). The effect of preoperative exercise training on postsurgery outcomes was reported in only one study. Compared with the control condition without exercise, postoperative exercise training led to higher weight loss (N = 14, mean difference [95% CI] = -1.8 [-3.2; -0.4] kg, P = 0.01), fat loss (N = 9, P = 0.01), increase in VO max (N = 8, P < 0.0001), and increase in muscle strength (N = 9, P < 0.0001). No significant effect was found on lean body mass (N = 11). Preliminary evidence suggests a beneficial effect of postoperative exercise training on bone mineral density (N = 3, P < 0.001) and weight maintenance after the end of the intervention (N = 2, P < 0.001) but no significant effect on quality of life (N = 2), habitual physical activity (N = 2), or cardiometabolic outcomes (N < 4). In conclusion, exercise training performed after bariatric surgery improves physical fitness and leads to a small additional weight and fat loss and may prevent bone loss and weight regain after bariatric surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13296DOI Listing
June 2021

Exercise training in the management of overweight and obesity in adults: Synthesis of the evidence and recommendations from the European Association for the Study of Obesity Physical Activity Working Group.

Obes Rev 2021 Jun 2:e13273. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Obesity Management Task Force (OMTF), European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), Middlesex, UK.

There is a need for updated practice recommendations on exercise in the management of overweight and obesity in adults. We summarize the evidence provided by a series of seven systematic literature reviews performed by a group of experts from across Europe. The following recommendations with highest strength (Grade A) were derived. For loss in body weight, total fat, visceral fat, intra-hepatic fat, and for improvement in blood pressure, an exercise training program based on aerobic exercise at moderate intensity is preferentially advised. Expected weight loss is however on average not more than 2 to 3 kg. For preservation of lean mass during weight loss, an exercise training program based on resistance training at moderate-to-high intensity is advised. For improvement in insulin sensitivity and for increasing cardiorespiratory fitness, any type of exercise training (aerobic, resistance, and combined aerobic or resistance) or high-intensity interval training (after thorough assessment of cardiovascular risk and under supervision) can be advised. For increasing muscular fitness, an exercise training program based preferentially on resistance training alone or combined with aerobic training is advised. Other recommendations deal with the beneficial effects of exercise training programs on energy intake and appetite control, bariatric surgery outcomes, and quality of life and psychological outcomes in management of overweight and obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13273DOI Listing
June 2021

Edmonton Obesity Staging System: an improvement by cardiopulmonary exercise testing.

Int J Obes (Lond) 2021 May 14. Epub 2021 May 14.

Center for the Study and Integrated Treatment of Obesity (CeSTIO), Internal Medicine 3, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Background/objectives: Different approaches are used to classify obesity severity. Beyond classical anthropometric measurements, the Edmonton Obesity Staging System (EOSS) considers medical, physical and psychological parameters. However, this method has some limitations, principally due to the absence of an objective measure for physical impairment. The aim of our study is thus to overcome this limitation suggesting a new functional parameter obtained by cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET), i.e., cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), expressed as weight-adjusted peak oxygen consumption (VOpeak/kg).

Subjects/methods: This observational cross-sectional study conducted on a population of 843 patients affected by obesity finally enrolled 500 subjects. Every patient underwent clinical, anthropometric, biochemical assessment and CPET. First, participants have been classified according to standard EOSS in five stages. Second, patients were reclassified according to the new modified EOSS (EOSS-CRF) based on their age- and gender-appropriate VOpeak/kg percentiles as reported in the healthy normal-weight population of the FRIEND registry.

Results: VOpeak/kg was significantly different between standard EOSS classes 1 and 2 and classes 1 and 3 (ANCOVA p model = 0.004), whereas patients in classes 2 and 3 showed similar CRF. The EOSS-CRF classification varied in number of patients in each class compared to EOSS, particularly with a shift from class 2 to class 3. Moreover, CRF showed that physical impairment is less addressed by EOSS when compared to EOSS-CRF.

Conclusions: The integration of EOSS with CRF allowed us to assign to each patient a severity index that considers not only clinical parameters, but also their functional impairment through a quantitative and prognostically important parameter (VOpeak/kg). This improvement of the staging system may also provide a better approach to identify individuals at increased risk of mortality leading to targeted therapeutic management and prognostic risk stratification for patients with obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-00856-9DOI Listing
May 2021

Association Between Penile Color Doppler Ultrasonography and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Patients With Vascular Erectile Dysfunction.

Sex Med 2021 May 8;9(3):100347. Epub 2021 May 8.

Sports and Exercise Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Introduction: Vascular erectile dysfunction (ED) is a burdensome condition, associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Peak systolic velocity (PSV) represents the maximum pulse velocity in the cavernous artery measured by a penile color doppler ultrasonography (PCDU) during a pharmacologically induced erection and is considered a reliable parameter for the diagnosis of vascular ED. However, the cut-off value of standard PSV (30 cm/s) provides high sensitivity only in the diagnosis of advanced arteriogenic disease. Thus, an age-adjusted PSV (6.73 + 0.7 x age cm/s) has been proposed to offer a more accurate diagnosis of vascular ED.

Aim: In this study it was aimed to answer the following question: "Is there any positive association between indexes of vascular erectile dysfunction and cardiorespiratory fitness?"

Main Outcome Measure And Methods: 25 patients with a medical history of ED (median age 55.3 years) underwent PCDU after pharmacological stimulation. Subsequently, a functional evaluation with ECG-monitored, incremental, maximal cardiopulmonary exercise testing was performed.

Results: Peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak), peak oxygen uptake per body weight (VO2 peak/kg) and Watt/kg correlated with standard PSV, even when corrected for age and BMI (p < 0.05). No differences emerged in cardiopulmonary fitness between pathological and healthy patients (4 vs 21) identified using the standard PSV cut-off. Conversely, the age-adjusted PSV cut-off identified a greater number of patients as pathological (18 vs 7), presenting a significantly lower cardiopulmonary fitness, exercise capacity and efficiency when compared to patients with normal age-adjusted PSV (all p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Data showed an age and BMI independent association between vascular disfunction of cavernous artery and cardiopulmonary fitness, a known solid predictor of all-cause and disease-specific mortality. Moreover, the age-adjusted PSV better identified a subgroup of patients with vascular ED presenting impaired cardiorespiratory fitness and thus increased cardiovascular risk. De Rocco Ponce M, Vecchiato M, Neunhaeuserer D, et al. Association Between Penile Color Doppler Ultrasonography and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Patients With Vascular Erectile Dysfunction. Sex Med 2021;XX:XXXXXX.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2021.100347DOI Listing
May 2021

Effect of exercise on cardiometabolic health of adults with overweight or obesity: Focus on blood pressure, insulin resistance, and intrahepatic fat-A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Obes Rev 2021 May 6:e13269. Epub 2021 May 6.

Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

This systematic review examined the impact of exercise intervention programs on selected cardiometabolic health indicators in adults with overweight or obesity. Three electronic databases were explored for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that included adults with overweight or obesity and provided exercise-training interventions. Effects on blood pressure, insulin resistance (homeostasis model of insulin resistance, HOMA-IR), and magnetic resonance measures of intrahepatic fat in exercise versus control groups were analyzed using random effects meta-analyses. Fifty-four articles matched inclusion criteria. Exercise training reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure (mean difference, MD = -2.95 mmHg [95% CI -4.22, -1.68], p < 0.00001, I  = 63% and MD = -1.93 mmHg [95% CI -2.73, -1.13], p < 0.00001, I  = 54%, 60 and 58 study arms, respectively). Systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased also when considering only subjects with hypertension. Exercise training significantly decreased HOMA-IR (standardized mean difference, SMD = -0.34 [-0.49, -0.18], p < 0.0001, I  = 48%, 37 study arms), with higher effect size in subgroup of patients with type 2 diabetes (SMD = -0.50 [95% CI: -0.83, -0.17], p = 0.003, I  = 39%). Intrahepatic fat decreased significantly after exercise interventions (SMD = -0.59 [95% CI: -0.78, -0.41], p < 0.00001, I  = 0%), with a larger effect size after high-intensity interval training. In conclusion, exercise training is effective in improving cardiometabolic health in adults with overweight or obesity also when living with comorbitidies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13269DOI Listing
May 2021

Effect of exercise training on psychological outcomes in adults with overweight or obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Obes Rev 2021 May 6:e13261. Epub 2021 May 6.

Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

This study systematically identified the effects of exercise on multiple psychological outcomes among adults with overweight/obesity, also assessing whether these effects differed across exercise types, genders, age, and body mass index (BMI) categories. Pubmed, Web of Science, PsychInfo, and SportDiscus were searched up to October 2019 for peer-reviewed papers assessing exercise training effects on psychosocial outcomes in adults with overweight/obesity. Thirty-six articles, 32 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), were included in this review. Most interventions were supervised (65%), ranging between 6 and 76 weeks (median = 12). Sixteen psychological outcomes were studied. Exercise induced positive changes in quality of life but did not reduce depression. Large effect sizes were observed on quality of life's physical component, but exercise was also able to improve vitality and mental health. Most psychological outcomes (e.g., body image, anxiety, and perceived stress) are poorly studied, evidencing either conflicting or null exercise effects. Exercise self-efficacy and autonomous motivations were also consistently improved. Exercise types and gender seem to moderate exercise psychological effects. Exercise training programs might lead to positive changes in some psychological outcomes, especially in quality of life, in adults with overweight and obesity, but more studies, with greater systematization in program characteristics, and longer follow-ups are still required to allow more solid conclusions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13261DOI Listing
May 2021

Effect of exercise training on weight loss, body composition changes, and weight maintenance in adults with overweight or obesity: An overview of 12 systematic reviews and 149 studies.

Obes Rev 2021 May 6:e13256. Epub 2021 May 6.

Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

This overview of reviews aimed to summarize the effects of exercise training programs on weight loss, changes in body composition, and weight maintenance in adults with overweight or obesity. A systematic search of systematic reviews and meta-analyses (SR-MAs) published between 2010 and December 2019 was performed. Only SR-MAs of controlled trials were included. The mean difference (MD) or standardized MD (SMD) were extracted from SR-MAs. Twelve SR-MAs (149 studies) were included. Exercise led to a significant weight loss (4 SR-MAs, MDs ranging from -1.5 to -3.5 kg), fat loss (4 SR-MAs, MDs ranging from -1.3 to -2.6 kg) and visceral fat loss (3 SR-MAs, SMDs ranging from -0.33 to -0.56). No difference in weight, fat, and visceral loss was found between aerobic and high-intensity interval training as long as energy expenditure was equal. Resistance training reduced lean mass loss during weight loss (1 SR-MA, MD: 0.8 [95%CI: 0.4-1.3] kg). No significant effect of exercise was found on weight maintenance (1 SR-MA). These findings show favorable effects of exercise training on weight loss and body composition changes in adults with overweight or obesity. Visceral fat loss may lead to benefits for cardiometabolic health. More research is needed to identify training modalities that promote weight maintenance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13256DOI Listing
May 2021

Effective behavior change techniques to promote physical activity in adults with overweight or obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Obes Rev 2021 May 5:e13258. Epub 2021 May 5.

Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

Multicomponent behavior change interventions are typically used in weight management, but results are largely heterogeneous and modest. Determining which techniques (behavior change technique [BCTs]) are more effective in changing behavior is thus required. This study aimed to identify the most effective BCTs for increasing physical activity (PA) in digital and face-to-face behavior change interventions in adults with overweight/obesity. Four databases were searched for eligible studies until October 2019. BCTs were coded using BCTTv1 and MBCT taxonomies. Sixty-two RCTs were included. Meta-regressions were performed to explore BCTs' moderating role. Five BCTs showed significant moderator effects on PA in digital interventions: goal setting behavior, goal setting outcome, graded tasks, social incentive, and self-monitoring of behavior (adjusted R 's = 0.15-0.51). One BCT showed significant moderator effects on PA in face-to-face interventions, behavioral practice and rehearsal (adjusted R  = 0.22). Multivariate and sensitivity analysis generally led to similar findings. Effective BCTs for increasing PA in adults with overweight/obesity in digital and face-to-face interventions seem to differ. Evidence suggests that using goal setting, social incentive, and graded tasks might help improve PA in digital interventions while avoiding inconsistent self-monitoring of behavior. In face-to-face interventions, prompting behavioral practice and rehearsal might lead to better PA outcomes. Still, further studies are needed. Implications of the current findings are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13258DOI Listing
May 2021

Effect of exercise training interventions on energy intake and appetite control in adults with overweight or obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Obes Rev 2021 May 5:e13251. Epub 2021 May 5.

Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France.

This systematic review examined the impact of exercise training interventions on energy intake (EI) and appetite control in adults with overweight/obesity (≥18 years including older adults). Articles were searched up to October 2019. Changes in EI, fasting appetite sensations, and eating behavior traits were examined with random effects meta-analysis, and other outcomes were synthesized qualitatively. Forty-eight articles were included (median [range] BMI = 30.6 [27.0-38.4] kg/m ). Study quality was rated as poor, fair, and good in 39, seven, and two studies, respectively. Daily EI was assessed objectively (N = 4), by self-report (N = 22), with a combination of the two (N = 4) or calculated from doubly labeled water (N = 1). In studies rated fair/good, no significant changes in pre-post daily EI were found and a small but negligible (SMD < 0.20) postintervention difference when compared with no-exercise control groups was observed (five study arms; MD = 102 [1, 203] kcal). There were negligible-to-small pre-post increases in fasting hunger and dietary restraint, decrease in disinhibition, and some positive changes in satiety and food reward/preferences. Within the limitations imposed by the quality of the included studies, exercise training (median duration of 12 weeks) leads to a small increase in fasting hunger and a small change in average EI only in studies rated fair/good. Exercise training may also reduce the susceptibility to overconsumption (PROSPERO: CRD42019157823).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13251DOI Listing
May 2021

Effect of different types of regular exercise on physical fitness in adults with overweight or obesity: Systematic review and meta-analyses.

Obes Rev 2021 May 3:e13239. Epub 2021 May 3.

Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Department of Nutrition, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

This systematic review examined the effect of exercise training interventions on physical fitness in adults with overweight or obesity and compared the effectiveness of different types of exercise training. Four electronic databases were searched. Articles were included if they described randomized controlled trials of exercise training interventions and their effect on maximal oxygen consumption or muscle strength in adults with overweight or obesity. Changes in outcome parameters were analyzed using random effects meta-analyses for different training types (aerobic, resistance, combined aerobic plus resistance, and high-intensity interval training). Eighty-eight articles satisfied the inclusion criteria of which 66 (3964 participants) could be included in the meta-analyses. All training types increased VO (mean difference 3.82 ml/min/kg (95% CI 3.17, 4.48), P < 0.00001; I = 48%). In direct comparisons, resistance training was less effective in improving VO than aerobic training, HIIT was slightly more effective than aerobic training, and no difference between aerobic and combined aerobic plus resistance training was found. For muscle strength benefits, incorporation of resistance exercise in the training program is indicated. Exercise training increases VO and muscle strength in adults with overweight or obesity. Differences between training types should be weighed with other needs and preferences when health professionals advise on exercise training to improve physical fitness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13239DOI Listing
May 2021

A clinical evaluation of VO kinetics in kidney transplant recipients.

Eur J Appl Physiol 2021 Jul 3;121(7):2005-2013. Epub 2021 Apr 3.

Sport and Exercise Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University Hospital of Padova, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128, Padua, Italy.

Purpose: Aerobic exercise capacity is reduced in patients with chronic kidney disease, partly due to alterations at the muscular and microvascular level. This study evaluated oxygen uptake (VO) kinetics as indicator of muscular oxidative metabolism in a population of Kidney Transplant Recipients (KTRs).

Methods: Two groups of KTRs enrolled 3 (n = 21) and 12 months (n = 14) after transplantation and a control group of healthy young adults (n = 16) underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing on cycle-ergometer. The protocol consisted in two subsequent constant, moderate-load exercise phases with a final incremental test until exhaustion.

Results: The time constant of VO kinetics was slower in KTRs at 3 and 12 months after transplantation compared to controls (50.4 ± 13.1 s and 43.8 ± 11.6 s vs 28.9 ± 8.4 s, respectively; P < 0.01). Peak VO was lower in KTRs evaluated 3 months after transplantation compared to patients evaluated after 1 year (21.3 ± 4.3 and 26.4 ± 8.0 mL/kg/min; P = 0.04). Blood haemoglobin (Hb) concentration was higher in KTRs evaluated at 12 months (12.8 ± 1.7 vs 14.6 ± 1.7 g/dL; P < 0.01). Among KTRs, τ showed a moderate negative correlation with Peak VO (ρ = - 0.52) and Oxygen uptake efficiency slope (OUES) (r = - 0.57) while no significant correlation with Hb and peak heart rate.

Conclusions: KTRs show slower VO kinetics compared to healthy controls. Hb and peak VO seem to improve during the first year after transplantation. VO kinetics were significantly associated with indices of cardiorespiratory fitness, but less with central determinants of aerobic capacity, thus suggesting a potential usefulness of adding this index of muscular oxidative metabolism to functional evaluation in KTRs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04672-xDOI Listing
July 2021

A Single-Center Experience with the Olympus ORBEYE 4K-3D Exoscope for Microsurgery of Complex Cranial Cases: Technical Nuances and Learning Curve.

J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2021 Mar 9. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Neurosurgery Clinic, Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology and Child Health, Careggi University Hospital and University of Florence, Florence, Italy.

Background:  The introduction of exoscopes in neurosurgery has been welcomed due to their maneuverability, ergonomics, and low-profile frame. 3D devices have further enabled a better stereoscopic visualization. Reports on their application, albeit more and more frequent, are still at their beginning stages. We present our experience with the Olympus ORBEYE 4K-3D exoscope for major cranial procedures. The strengths and weaknesses of the exoscope are presented, and the nuances associated with the learning curve are illustrated.

Methods:  Over 2 weeks, patients undergoing surgery for major cranial pathologies were offered to participate in this evaluation of the Olympus ORBEYE 4K-3D exoscope. Information on the use of the exoscope was collected to assess the features and struggles in the learning curve. A comparison with the operating microscope was made.

Results:  Fourteen patients with different intracranial pathologies were operated on with the exoscope. No surgery-related complications occurred. The microsurgical part was performed with the exoscope in six cases. The exoscope was used for 72.9% (±37.5%) of the whole microsurgical time vs. 27.1% (±37.5%) microscope time ( = 0.02).

Conclusion:  The Olympus ORBEYE 4K-3D exoscope represents a useful evolution of the operating microscope. It requires time to overcome potential difficulties, mostly related to previous motor schemes acquired with operating microscopes. Its features could represent the basis for a paradigm shift in microsurgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1719106DOI Listing
March 2021

Relationship between serum myostatin levels and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity in healthy young male adolescents: the MACISTE study.

J Appl Physiol (1985) 2021 Apr 25;130(4):987-992. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Serum myostatin (sMSTN) is a proteic compound that regulates skeletal muscle growth, adipogenesis, and production of extracellular matrix. Its relationship with functional and structural properties of the arterial wall is still understudied. We aimed at evaluating the association between sMSTN and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV), a measure of aortic stiffness, in a cohort of healthy male adolescents. Fifteen healthy male adolescents were recruited among the participants of the Metabolic And Cardiovascular Investigation at School, TErni (MACISTE) study, a cross-sectional survey conducted at the "Renato Donatelli" High School in Terni, Italy. sMSTN was measured through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. cf-PWV was measured through high-fidelity applanation tonometry. Muscle strength and body composition were measured through handgrip and bioimpedentiometry, respectively. sMSTN levels showed a skewed distribution (median: 6.0 ng/mL, interquartile range: 2.2-69.2 ng/mL). Subjects with sMSTN above median value showed higher values of brachial diastolic blood pressure and increased cf-PWV (6.1 ± 1.1 m/s vs. 4.6 ± 0.7 m/s, < 0.01) values, compared with their counterparts. Such difference remained significant after controlling for age, mean BP, heart rate, body mass index -score, waist-to-height ratio, body mass/lean mass ratio, and amount of physical activity ( = 0.02). The association between log-transformed sMSTN and cf-PWV was direct and linear, and independent from the effect of confounders at the multivariate analysis ( = 0.02). In this preliminary report, sMSTN was independently associated with cf-PWV, a measure of aortic stiffness, in healthy male adolescents. Our results shed lights on the potential role of myokines in the pathogenesis of systemic hypertension and atherosclerosis. Serum myostatin, a proteic compound known to regulate skeletal muscle growth and production of extracellular matrix, is independently associated with increased aortic stiffness in healthy male adolescents. This result sheds lights on the potential novel role of myokines in the early development of systemic hypertension and early vascular aging, as well as on their inhibition as a hypothetical therapeutic strategy to counteract vascular aging at an early stage of physical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00782.2020DOI Listing
April 2021

In search of the optimal cuff for blood pressure measurement in people with severe obesity.

Hypertens Res 2021 Apr 18;44(4):477-479. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Studium Patavinum, Dipartimento di Medicina, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41440-020-00597-8DOI Listing
April 2021

Development of machine learning models to prognosticate chronic shunt-dependent hydrocephalus after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2020 12 8;162(12):3093-3105. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Neurosurgery Clinic, Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology and Child Health, Careggi University Hospital and University of Florence, Largo Piero Palagi 1, 50137, Florence, Italy.

Background: Shunt-dependent hydrocephalus significantly complicates subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and reliable prognosis methods have been sought in recent years to reduce morbidity and costs associated with delayed treatment or neglected onset. Machine learning (ML) defines modern data analysis techniques allowing accurate subject-based risk stratifications. We aimed at developing and testing different ML models to predict shunt-dependent hydrocephalus after aneurysmal SAH.

Methods: We consulted electronic records of patients with aneurysmal SAH treated at our institution between January 2013 and March 2019. We selected variables for the models according to the results of the previous works on this topic. We trained and tested four ML algorithms on three datasets: one containing binary variables, one considering variables associated with shunt-dependency after an explorative analysis, and one including all variables. For each model, we calculated AUROC, specificity, sensitivity, accuracy, PPV, and also, on the validation set, the NPV and the Matthews correlation coefficient (ϕ).

Results: Three hundred eighty-six patients were included. Fifty patients (12.9%) developed shunt-dependency after a mean follow-up of 19.7 (± 12.6) months. Complete information was retrieved for 32 variables, used to train the models. The best models were selected based on the performances on the validation set and were achieved with a distributed random forest model considering 21 variables, with a ϕ = 0.59, AUC = 0.88; sensitivity and specificity of 0.73 (C.I.: 0.39-0.94) and 0.92 (C.I.: 0.84-0.97), respectively; PPV = 0.59 (0.38-0.77); and NPV = 0.96 (0.90-0.98). Accuracy was 0.90 (0.82-0.95).

Conclusions: Machine learning prognostic models allow accurate predictions with a large number of variables and a more subject-oriented prognosis. We identified a single best distributed random forest model, with an excellent prognostic capacity (ϕ = 0.58), which could be especially helpful in identifying low-risk patients for shunt-dependency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00701-020-04484-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7593274PMC
December 2020

Effect of the shape of the cuff on blood pressure measurement in people with large arms.

Blood Press 2020 08 14;29(4):241-246. Epub 2020 Mar 14.

Studium Patavinum, Dipartimento di Medicina, University of Padova, Padua, Italy.

Previous data suggest that tronco-conical cuffs should be used for accurate blood pressure (BP) measurement in the obese. However, not only arm size but also its shape may affect the accuracy of BP measurement when a cylindrical cuff is used. In 197 subjects with arm circumference >32 cm, and 157 subjects with arm circumference ≤ 32 cm, the upper-arm was considered as formed from two truncated cones and the frustum slant angles of the proximal (upper angle) and distal (middle angle) truncated cones were measured. Five cylindrical and five tronco-conical cuffs of appropriate size in relation to arm circumference were used. In the group with large arm, the upper slant angle was greater than the middle angle (86.5 ± 1.7° versus 84.7 ± 2.3°), whereas in the group with normal arm the two angles were similar. In the former group, the cylindrical cuff overestimated BP by 2.5 ± 5.4/1.7 ± 4.7 mmHg, whereas in the latter negligible between-cuff BP discrepancies were found. In the whole sample, BP discrepancies between the cylindrical and the tronco-conical cuffs correlated with both arm size and shape, considered as the difference between the upper and middle slant angles (all  < 0.0001). Among the participants with large arm, the between-cuff BP discrepancies increased progressively with increasing upper-middle angle difference (3.75 ± 0.38/2.78 ± 0.32 mmHg for the top tertile,  < 0.001/<0.001). These data indicate that in people with large upper arms, the tronco-conical shape of the arm is more pronounced on the lower than the upper half, a feature that amplifies the BP measurement error when cylindrical cuffs are used.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08037051.2020.1738913DOI Listing
August 2020

Are familial colloid cysts of the third ventricle associated with a worse clinical course than sporadic forms? Case illustration and systematic literature review.

J Neurosurg Sci 2020 Feb 10. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Department of Neurosurgery Clinic, Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology and Child Health, Careggi Hospital, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.

Background: The incidence of asymptomatic colloid cysts is increasing due to the widespread use of neuroimaging tools. According to previous works, familial forms (within first-degree relatives) represent 5-25% of the cases, and it is not clear whether they display specific features influencing the clinical behavior of the disease.

Methods: We reviewed the literature to extract data from papers dealing with familial colloid cysts. For comparison, previous series dealing with the natural history of sporadic cases were identified. Also, we present two more cases of familiar colloid cysts from our experience.

Results: Fifty-one patients (23 reports, plus our cases) were analyzed. Familial cases showed a younger age at diagnosis (p=0.02) and fewer asymptomatic cases (p<0.001) compared to non- familial colloid cysts. The odds ratio and relative risk of needing surgery with a positive family history for surgical cyst removal were respectively 17.5 (CI: 1.6 - 197.4) and 1.9 (CI: 0.71 - 5.1). Screening of other family members identified further colloid cysts in 4% of families.

Conclusions: Familial colloid cysts show a higher percentage of younger and symptomatic patients compared to non-familiar forms. A positive family history for surgical evacuation is a predictor for a similar outcome. This could indicate a predisposition to an earlier formation and faster growth, and the need for a stricter follow-up in asymptomatic patients. If confirmed in the future, this could suggest a review of the criteria for cyst treatment and extend the surgical indication to asymptomatic familial cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0390-5616.20.04860-2DOI Listing
February 2020

Postural balance, muscle strength, and history of falls in end-stage renal disease patients living with a kidney transplant: A cross-sectional study.

Gait Posture 2020 02 28;76:358-363. Epub 2019 Dec 28.

Sport and Exercise Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani, 2, 35128, Padova, Italy.

Background: End-stage renal disease patients living with a kidney transplant (KT) often present with frailty, functional disability, and mobility impairments that may result in a high risk of falls. Postural balance and muscle strength are implicated in the etiology of falls in the geriatric population, and both may be impaired in KT patients.

Research Question: We conducted a cross-sectional investigation to estimate the prevalence of falls, as well as to explore the association between postural balance, muscle strength and history of falls in end-stage renal disease patients living with a KT.

Methods: Fifty-nine prevalent KT patients (age = 53.2 ± 11 years) were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Participants were classified as fallers/non-fallers and underwent an objectively-measured assessment of postural balance on a stabilometric platform in eyes open (EO), eyes closed (EC), and dual-task (DT) conditions. Center of pressure (CoP) variables were taken for the analysis. In addition, participants underwent isometric (IM) and isokinetic (IK) assessments of lower limb muscle strength on a multi-joint evaluation system.

Results: Thirty-four percent of the study participants reported at least one fall in the previous 12 months. In logistic regression analysis, CoP velocity in EO (OR: 1.23, 95 % CI: 1.06-1.43, p = .007), and IK ankle dorsiflexion strength (OR: 0.87, 95 % CI: 0.77-0.99, p = .034) were independently associated with increased odds of falling.

Significance: This cross-sectional study indicates that patients living with a KT presented with a prevalence of falls indicative of a high risk of falling. Postural balance and muscle strength are exercise-modifiable factors and further research is warranted to establish to what extent these measures may be implicated in the etiology of falling in this patient group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2019.12.031DOI Listing
February 2020

An Alternative Route to the Posterior Half of the Third Ventricle: The Transoccipital Horn Approach. Technical Note.

World Neurosurg 2019 Dec 10;132:223-229. Epub 2019 Sep 10.

Departments of Neurosurgery, Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology, and Child Health, University of Florence, Careggi, Florence, Italy.

Background: Lesions arising or abutting in the posterior half of the third ventricle are approached through established routes to avoid damage of essential brain structures. Occasionally, the features of the lesion require rethinking these traditional routes and tailoring the surgical approach to cause fewer debilitating sequelae to the patient. We introduce a modification of previously described transcortical approaches to lesions of the posterior third ventricle. The technique and possible indications are discussed.

Methods: Two cases of posterior third ventricle tumors are presented. In both patients, a small posterior fossa and large tentorial veins located along the surgical route, as well as the position of the lesion underneath the internal cerebral veins, encouraged the concept of a novel transoccipital horn approach that was developed to access the tumor with less postoperative deficits.

Results: Both lesions were removed with transitory postoperative visual deficits.

Conclusions: The transoccipital horn approach is a feasible alternative to other surgical routes to the posterior part of the third ventricle in cases of particularly challenging anatomy and tumor characteristics. It allows reaching the lesion along its major axis, fully exploiting the natural space created by the tumor in its growth and avoiding the internal cerebral veins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2019.08.255DOI Listing
December 2019

Arterial switch operation for transposition of the great arteries: A single-centre 32-year experience.

J Card Surg 2019 Nov 11;34(11):1154-1161. Epub 2019 Sep 11.

Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences and Public Health, Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Surgery Unit, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Objective: Arterial switch operation (ASO) is nowadays the standard of care for neonates with D-transposition of the great arteries (D-TGA). We evaluated our early and late results with ASO for D-TGA.

Materials And Methods: We collected data on 267 patients with D-TGA, either with intact ventricular septum (D-TGA/IVS; n = 182, 68%) and with other associated congenital heart malformations (complex D-TGA; n = 85, 32%) that underwent ASO between January 1987 and July 2018.

Results: Median age at ASO was 8 days (interquartile range [IQR], 6-12 days). Fifteen patients (5.6%) died in hospital (6/182 with D-TGA/IVS, 3.3% and 9/85 with complex D-TGA, 11%; P = 0.02). Median follow-up time was 10.2 years (IQR, 3.7-18 years). There were 2 (0.8%) late sudden deaths. Overall survival at 10 and 20 years was 94% and 93%, respectively. Thirty-five patients (14%) required either reoperations or reinterventions, mainly for right ventricular outflow tract obstruction (n = 28, 11%). Freedom from reoperation/reintervention at 10 and 20 years was 87% and 78%, respectively. All patients were in NYHA I at latest clinical examination. Six over 173 patients (3.4%) who underwent a postoperative evaluation of their coronaries presented acquired anomalies. Forty-four patients (17%) who performed a cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) have a predicted VO comparable to normal peers.

Conclusions: The results of ASO for D-TGA are excellent, with a fairly low mortality and reoperation/reintervention rate. Functional capacity evaluated with CPET is comparable to normal peers. Continuous follow-up for detecting asymptomatic acquired coronary artery disease is mandatory. A reassessment of competitive sport eligibility criteria for specific D-TGA patients should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocs.14045DOI Listing
November 2019

A nutraceutical combination reduces left ventricular mass in subjects with metabolic syndrome and left ventricular hypertrophy: A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Clin Nutr 2020 05 19;39(5):1379-1384. Epub 2019 Jul 19.

Department of Translational Medical Sciences, Federico II University of Naples, Italy.

Background & Aims: Increased left ventricular mass (LVM) is often present in metabolic syndrome (MS), also in the setting of well-controlled blood pressure (BP). Aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of a nutraceutical combination of berberine, red yeast rice extract and policosanol (Armolipid Plus™, AP) in reducing LVM in patients with MS and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).

Methods: In this multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 158 patients with MS (IDF criteria) and LVH (LVM > 48 g/m in men and > 44 g/m in women), were randomized 1:1 to receive AP or placebo for 24 weeks. Reduction of LVM, regression of LVH, and changes in lipids were analysed.

Results: One-hundred-and-forty-five patients (AP n = 74, placebo n = 71) completed the study. A significant percentage reduction in LVM was observed in AP group vs baseline (-2.7%, p < 0.0001), and compared to placebo (-4.1%, p < 0.0001), and remained significant after adjustment for age, sex, baseline systolic BP and BMI and their changes during the study period. The proportion of subjects showing LVM reduction was higher in AP group than in the placebo group (57% vs 28%, adjusted p = 0.007). Treatment with AP was associated with improvement of lipid profile.

Conclusions: 24-week of treatment with AP is associated with a significant reduction in LVM in subjects with MS and LVH, in addition to favourable effects on lipid profile, and could represent an effective strategy aiming at reducing the associated cardiovascular risk. The trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov with ID NCT02295176.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2019.06.026DOI Listing
May 2020

Physical Exercise Is Confirmed to Reduce Low Back Pain Symptoms in Office Workers: A Systematic Review of the Evidence to Improve Best Practices in the Workplace.

J Funct Morphol Kinesiol 2019 Jul 5;4(3). Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Sport and Exercise Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, 35128 Padova, Italy.

This systematic review aimed to analyze the effects of a physical exercise (PE) program on low back pain (LBP) symptoms of office workers and the modification of flexibility and range of motion (ROM), muscular strength, and quality of life (QoL). A literature research was performed on PubMed, Scopus, MEDLINE, and SPORTDiscus from April to May 2018. The keyword "low back pain" was associated with "office worker" OR "VDT operators" OR "office employees" OR "workplace" AND "exercise", OR "exercise therapy" OR "physical activity". Inclusion criteria were a home- or work-based exercise protocol for office workers with LBP symptoms and pre- to post-intervention evaluation of LBP symptoms. Three researchers independently examined all abstracts. The modified Cochrane methodological quality criteria were used for quality assessment and 11 articles were included. Exercise protocols were performed from 6 weeks to 12 months, 1-5 day per week, lasting 10-60 min for each session. Physical Exercise in the workplace improved all the considered outcomes. The best improvement was recorded in supervised protocols and in video-supported protocols performed in the workplace. The effect may be generated with small duration sessions during the working day, with only 10-15 min of adapted exercise to be performed 3-5 days per week.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4030043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7739349PMC
July 2019

Comparison of cardiovascular screening guidelines for middle-aged/older adults.

Scand J Med Sci Sports 2019 Sep 29;29(9):1375-1382. Epub 2019 May 29.

Sports and Exercise Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Purpose: Although both European (EACPR) and American (ACSM) Scientific Societies have devised cardiovascular protocols for the assessment of "middle-aged/older" individuals who are about to participate in sports or physical exercise, there are no data regarding the guidelines' sensitivity of these measures. The aim of this study was to compare the outcomes of different international screening protocols.

Methods: This observational cross-sectional study evaluated 525 subjects (80% males; median age 50 [35-85] years) seeking medical certification before participating in sports or regular exercise. The screening protocol consisted in completing a personal history profile, a physical examination, a resting ECG, a maximal exercise test, and, when required, additional instrumental evaluations. The effectiveness of the current EACPR as well as the former and new ACSM guidelines was thereby analyzed.

Results: The full screening protocol uncovered 100 previously undetected cardiovascular conditions (main pathologies detected: 21 coronary artery disease (CAD), 14 arterial hypertension, 38 complex arrhythmias). When the European guideline was used, 49% of these conditions went undetected, including 10 CAD. When the former American guideline was used, 29% (6 CAD) went undetected; when the recently updated edition was used, 50% including 11 CAD went undetected.

Conclusion: The former ACSM guideline demonstrated a higher diagnostic sensitivity than the newer version and the EACPR guideline. Current screening protocols might be adapted for subjects performing high-intensity exercise due to their higher risk for cardiovascular and exercise-associated adverse events. The use of an incremental ECG-monitored maximal exercise test seems to improve these screening outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sms.13457DOI Listing
September 2019

Efficacy of a nutraceutical combination on lipid metabolism in patients with metabolic syndrome: a multicenter, double blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial.

Lipids Health Dis 2019 Mar 18;18(1):66. Epub 2019 Mar 18.

Rottapharm Biotech, Monza, Italy.

Background: Nutraceuticals represent a new therapeutic frontier in the treatment of metabolic syndrom (MetS) and related cardiovascular risk factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential beneficial effects of Armolipid Plus (AP) (berberine 500 mg, red yest rice, monacolin K 3 mg and policosanol 10 mg) on insulin resistance, lipid profile, particularly on small and dense LDL cholesterol (sdLDL-C), representing the most atherogenic components, as well as its effects on high sensitivity C-reactive protein, a notable marker of cardiovascular risk, blood pressure and cardiac remodeling in subjects affected by MetS, with left ventricular hypertrophy.

Methods: The study was a prospective, multi-center, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. One hundred and fifty eight patients, aged between 28 and 76 years old, were enrolled and randomized to receive either one tablet of AP or placebo (PL) once daily for 24 weeks. Anthropometric and vital parameters, total cholesterol (tot-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglyceridemia (TG), non-HDL cholesterol (NHDL-C) and sdLDL-C were evaluated.

Results: After 24 weeks of treatment, the analysis performed on 141 subjects (71 in AP arm and 70 in PL arm), showed a significant improvement of lipid profile in the AP group, with reduction in tot-C (- 13.2 mg/dl), LDL-C (- 13.9 mg/dl) and NHDL-C (- 15.3 mg/dl) and increase in HDL-C (+ 2.0 mg/dl). These changes were equally significant compared with placebo (tot-C: AP - 13.2 mg/dL vs PL + 2.7 mg/dL, p < 0.01; LDL-C: AP -13.9 mg/dl vs PL + 1.5 mg/dl, p < 0.01; NHDL-C: AP -15.3 mg/dl vs PL + 2.8 mg/dl, p < 0.01), Although no significant difference was observed between the two arms in the reduction of HDL-C nevertheless it increased significantly in the AP group (AP + 2 mg/dL p < 0.05, PL 0.13 mg/dL).

Conclusion: The results of this study, applicable to a specific local population show that, in a population of subjects affected by MetS, treatment with AP improves the lipid profile and the most atherogenic factors, thus suggesting a reduction in the risk of development and progression of atherosclerosis, particularly in subjects with high atherogenic risk, due to the presence of sdLDL-C.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12944-019-1002-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6421674PMC
March 2019

Inter-arm Systolic Blood Pressure Difference in Physically Active, Adult Subjects.

High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev 2018 Sep 12;25(3):303-307. Epub 2018 Jul 12.

Sport and Exercise Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, via Giustiniani 2, 35128, Padua, Italy.

Introduction: Increased inter-arm systolic blood pressure difference (ΔPsys) has been associated with cardiovascular (CV) disease in elderly patients with CV risk factors. However, its significance in healthy subjects is unclear.

Aim: To determine the relationship between ΔPsys, the individual level of physical activity and the global CV risk in apparently healthy adults.

Methods: Systolic blood pressure was measured in both arms in 400 subjects aged 46.5 ± 12.2 years, using a simultaneous oscillometric device (WatchBP Office, Microlife, Widnau, Switzerland). In the subjects with ΔPsys ≥ 10 mmHg (Cases n = 20) and in a Control group (20 subjects without ΔPsys ≥ 10 mmHg), another simultaneous measurement was repeated during a second visit. The physical activity level was assessed via the International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Short Form (IPAQ-SF), the ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI) with a photoplethysmographic method (Angioflow-Microlab, Padova, Italy) and the CV risk via the Framingham Risk Score (FRS).

Results: The prevalence of ΔPsys ≥ 10 mmHg in the whole population was 5% (95% CI 3.24-8.01%). Cases and Controls were comparable in gender, age, and BMI. ΔPsys ≥ 10 mmHg was only confirmed in 17.6% of the Cases. No statistically significant differences were found between groups for IPAQ-SF, ABPI, or FRS.

Conclusions: The prevalence of ΔPsys ≥ 10 mmHg in this population was only slightly lower than what observed in older, hypertensive or diabetic patients. Cases and Controls did not differ in physical activity level, ankle brachial pressure index and CV risk. However, low test-retest reliability might limit the use of ΔPsys as a reliable marker for CV screening in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40292-018-0269-9DOI Listing
September 2018

How to Measure 24-hour Central Blood Pressure and Its Potential Clinical Implications.

High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev 2017 Jun 10;24(2):141-148. Epub 2017 Apr 10.

Dipartimento di Medicina, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

The evaluation of 24-hour central blood pressure (24h cBP) combines the cBP non-invasive assessment with the 24-h ambulatory BP measurement. The major strength of the 24-h cBP evaluation is the ability to assess the degree of circadian changes between central and peripheral BP, namely 24-h BP amplification. This allows an accurate quantification of the degree of spatial and temporal BP variability in each single individual. BP amplification depends from a number of factors, such as the interaction between pressure and flow pulsatile motions, vasomotor tone, arterial tapering and other physiological and anthropometrical determinants. The assessment of 24-h BP amplification, a relatively pressure-independent parameter, may be helpful in better refining the risk of organ damage and future CV events over traditional measures of office and 24-h brachial BP. Currently, only few devices enable the assessment of 24-h cBP. These devices are based on peripheral (brachial or radial) BP waveform detection, and reconstruction of central BP waveform through mathematical models. The estimation of 24-h cBP imputed from multivariate regression equations was also proposed. Clinical data are still scarce and, although suggesting a possible superiority of 24-h cBP over brachial BP in the association with markers of organ damage, they are limited by methodological and technical aspects. There is urgent need of a standardized methodology and rigorous validation protocols for the 24-h cBP assessment. The field of 24-h cBP measurement still requires significant advancements of scientific knowledge before its introduction into clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40292-017-0202-7DOI Listing
June 2017

Sex- and gender-related prevalence, cardiovascular risk and therapeutic approach in metabolic syndrome: A review of the literature.

Pharmacol Res 2017 Jun 12;120:34-42. Epub 2017 Mar 12.

Dipartimento di Medicina, Università di Perugia, Perugia, Italy; Struttura Complessa di Medicina Interna, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Terni, Terni, Italy.

Metabolic syndrome (MS), a cluster of metabolic abnormalities linked to insulin-resistance and abdominal obesity, is associated with an increased risk of Type II diabetes mellitus (DM) and cardiovascular (CV) disease. Its prevalence is high, affecting 20%-30% of the general population, and increases with age in a sex-specific manner: in fact, while below 50 years it is slightly higher in men, it reverses after 50 years. The pronounced age-related increase in the prevalence of MS in women occurs as the result of several factors, which may be classified into sex- and gender-related factors. Sex-related factors, linked to genetical and biological pathways, are mainly driven by hyperandrogenism, insulin-resistance, and the associated increase in abdominal obesity and HDL-cholesterol reduction occurring after menopause. Gender-related factors are sensitive to social and cultural behaviors, dietary habits and psychosocial factors. Women are more prone than men to develop MS in response to work stress and low socio-economic status. Sex and gender differences in the prevalence of MS may translate in different CV risk associated. Prospective studies suggest that the CV risk in women with MS is not only equal but also superior to the CV risk of men with MS. This difference is mostly attenuated when adjusting for the presence of overt DM. Despite similar odds for CV events, the number of CV events may be higher in elderly women because of the higher prevalence of MS compared to men in this age group. Men and women may also have a differential response to treatments for MS, such as lifestyle measures and weight loss. Recent observations suggest that men are better responders than women to non-pharmaceutical therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing the prevalence of MS, although this should be confirmed in large-scale studies. The present review describes the impact of sex and gender on the prevalence, clinical presentation, prognostic significance and treatment of the MS. Attention to gender specificities should be a mandatory pre-requisite of clinical and epidemiological research on MS and CV disease, for a better knowledge and development of health strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2017.03.008DOI Listing
June 2017

Morning pressor surge, blood pressure variability, and arterial stiffness in essential hypertension.

J Hypertens 2017 02;35(2):272-278

aDipartimento di Medicina, Università di Perugia, PerugiabStruttura Complessa di Medicina Interna, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Terni, Terni, Italy.

Objective: An excess morning blood pressure surge (MBPS) may portend an increased cardiovascular risk, but the mechanisms thereof have been little investigated. The link between MBPS, short-term blood pressure (BP) variability, and arterial stiffness has not been entirely defined.

Methods: In 602 consecutive untreated hypertensive patients (48 ± 12 years, 61% men, office BP 149/93 ± 17/10 mmHg), we measured carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV, SphygmoCor) and 24-h ambulatory BP. Using self-reported sleep and wake times, MBPS was defined as sleep-trough (ST-MBPS), prewaking, rising. Short-term BP variability was calculated as weighted 24-h SBP SD and average real variability of 24-h SBP (ARV), that is, average of absolute differences between consecutive SBP readings.

Results: ST-MBPS (r = 0.16, P < 0.001) and rising MBPS (r = 0.12, P = 0.003) showed a direct correlation with cf-PWV, whereas prewaking MBPS had no such relation (r = 0.06, P = 0.14). Only ST-MBPS was independently associated with cf-PWV (t = 1.96, P = 0.04) after adjustment for age, sex, height, office mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and renal function. This association was lost after further adjustment for weighted 24-h SBP SD (P = 0.13) or ARV (P = 0.24). ARV was a significant mediator of the relationship between ST-MBPS and cf-PWV (P = 0.003).

Conclusion: In untreated hypertension, ST-MBPS has a direct relation with aortic stiffness, which is mediated by an increased ARV. The adverse effects of MBPS may be partly explained by its link with arterial stiffness, mediated by short-term SBP variability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0000000000001153DOI Listing
February 2017

Central Hemodynamics and Arterial Stiffness in Systemic Sclerosis.

Hypertension 2016 12 17;68(6):1504-1511. Epub 2016 Oct 17.

From the Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Italy (E.B., G.P., F.C., F.B., A.A., M.G., G.C., R.G., G.S.); and Unit of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Terni University Hospital, Italy (G.P., F.B., M.G., G.S.).

Although microvascular disease is a hallmark of systemic sclerosis (SSc), a higher prevalence of macrovascular disease and a poorer related prognosis have been reported in SSc than in the general population. The simultaneous assessment of prognostically relevant functional properties of larger and smaller arteries, and their effects on central hemodynamics, has never been performed in SSc using the state-of-the-art techniques. Thirty-four women with SSc (aged 61±15 years, disease duration 17±12 years, and blood pressure 123/70±18/11 mm Hg) and 34 healthy women individually matched by age and mean arterial pressure underwent the determination of carotid-femoral (aortic) and carotid-radial (upper limb) pulse wave velocity (a direct measure of arterial stiffness), aortic augmentation (a measure of the contribution of reflected wave to central pulse pressure), and aortobrachial pulse pressure amplification (brachial/aortic pulse pressure) through applanation tonometry (SphygmoCor). Patients and controls did not differ by carotid-femoral or carotid-radial pulse wave velocity. Aortic augmentation index corrected for a heart rate of 75 bpm ([email protected]) was higher in women with SSc (30.9±16% versus 22.2±12%; P=0.012). Patients also had a lower aortobrachial amplification of pulse pressure (1.22±0.18 versus 1.33±0.25; P=0.041). SSc was an independent predictor of [email protected] (direct) and pulse pressure amplification (inverse). Among patients, age, mean arterial pressure, and C-reactive protein independently predicted carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. Age and mean arterial pressure were the only predictors of [email protected] Women with SSc have increased aortic augmentation and decreased pulse pressure amplification (both measures of the contribution of reflected wave to central waveform) but no changes in aortic or upper limb arterial stiffness. Microvascular involvement occurs earlier than large artery stiffening in SSc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.08345DOI Listing
December 2016