Publications by authors named "Pietro Di Pasquale"

58 Publications

Cardiovascular Implantable Electronic Device Infection and New Insights About Correlation Between Pro-inflammatory Markers and Heart Failure: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis.

Front Cardiovasc Med 2021 3;8:602275. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Health Promotion, Mother and Child Care, Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, Section of Legal Medicine, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

Surgical approaches to treat patients with abnormal pro-inflammatory parameters remain controversial, and the debate on the correlation between hematological parameter alteration in cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) infection and the increase in mortality continues. We performed a systematic review using the PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane Library databases. Twenty-two articles from May 2007 to April 2020 were selected and divided according to the following topics: prevalence of microbes in patients with CIED infection; characteristics of patients with CIED infection; comparison between patients who underwent and did not undergo replantation after device extraction; and correlation between alteration of hematological parameters and poor prognosis analysis. Epidemiological analysis confirmed high prevalence of male sex, staphylococcal infection, and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS). The most common comorbidity was heart failure. Complete removal of CIED and antimicrobial therapy combination are the gold standard. CIED replacement was associated with higher survival. High preoperative white blood cell count and C-reactive protein levels increased the risk of right ventricular failure (RVF) development. Increased red blood cell distribution width (RDW) value or decreased platelet count was correlated with poor prognosis. No correlation was noted between preoperative leukocytosis and CIED infection. A relevant correlation between leukocytosis and RVF was observed. Heart failure may be related to high RDW values and decreased platelet count. Data on the correlation between hematological parameter alteration and poor prognosis are missing in many studies because of delayed implantation in patients showing signs of infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2021.602275DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8126630PMC
May 2021

Hypertonic Saline in Conjunction with High-Dose Furosemide Improves Dose-Response Curves in Worsening Refractory Congestive Heart Failure.

Adv Ther 2015 Oct 31;32(10):971-82. Epub 2015 Oct 31.

Dipartimento Biomedico di Medicina Interna e Specialistica (DIBIMIS), AOUP "Paolo Giaccone" Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

Introduction: Diuretic responsiveness in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) is better assessed by urine production per unit diuretic dose than by the absolute urine output or diuretic dose. Diuretic resistance arises over time when the plateau rate of sodium and water excretion is reached prior to optimal fluid elimination and may be overcome when hypertonic saline solution (HSS) is added to high doses of furosemide.

Methods: Forty-two consecutively hospitalized patients with refractory CHF were randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to furosemide doses (125 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg) so that all patients received intravenous furosemide diluted in 150 ml of normal saline (0.9%) in the first step (0-24 h) and the same furosemide dose diluted in 150 ml of HSS (1.4%) in the next step (24-48 h) as to obtain 3 groups as follows: Fourteen patients receiving 125 mg (group 1), fourteen patients receiving 250 mg (group 2), and fourteen patients receiving 500 mg (group 3) of furosemide. Urine samples of all patients were collected at 30, 60, and 90 min, and 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 24 h after infusion. Diuresis, sodium excretion, osmolality, and furosemide concentration were evaluated for each urine sample.

Results: After randomization, 40 patients completed the study. Two patients, one in group 2 and one in group 3 dropped out. Patients in group 1 (125 mg furosemide) had a mean age of 77 ± 17 years, 43% were male, 6 (43%) had heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), and 64% were in New York Heart Association (NYHA) class IV; the mean age of patients in group 2 (250 mg furosemide) was 80 ± 8.1 years, 15% were male, 5 (38%) had HFpEF, and 84% were in NYHA class IV; and the mean age of patients in group 3 (500 mg furosemide) was 73 ± 12 years, 54% were male, 6 (46%) had HFpEF, and 69% were in NYHA class IV. HSS added to furosemide increased total urine output, sodium excretion, urinary osmolality, and furosemide urine delivery in all patients and at all time points. The percentage increase was 18,14, and 14% for urine output; 29, 24, and 16% for total sodium excretion; 45, 34, and 20% for urinary osmolarity; and 27, 36, and 32% for total furosemide excretion in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. These findings were translated in an improvement in the furosemide dose-response curves in these patients.

Conclusion: These results may serve as new pathophysiological basis for HSS use in the treatment of refractory CHF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12325-015-0254-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4635178PMC
October 2015

Water and sodium in heart failure: a spotlight on congestion.

Heart Fail Rev 2015 Jan;20(1):13-24

Biomedical Department of Internal and Specialty Medicine (Di.Bi.M.I.S.), A.O.U.P "Paolo Giaccone", University of Palermo, Piazza delle Cliniche 2, 90127, Palermo, Italy,

Despite all available therapies, the rates of hospitalization and death from heart failure (HF) remain unacceptably high. The most common reasons for hospital admission are symptoms related to congestion. During hospitalization, most patients respond well to standard therapy and are discharged with significantly improved symptoms. Post-discharge, many patients receive diligent and frequent follow-up. However, rehospitalization rates remain high. One potential explanation is a persistent failure by clinicians to adequately manage congestion in the outpatient setting. The failure to successfully manage these patients post-discharge may represent an unmet need to improve the way congestion is both recognized and treated. A primary aim of future HF management may be to improve clinical surveillance to prevent and manage chronic fluid overload while simultaneously maximizing the use of evidence-based therapies with proven long-term benefit. Improvement in cardiac function is the ultimate goal and maintenance of a "dry" clinical profile is important to prevent hospital admission and improve prognosis. This paper focuses on methods for monitoring congestion, and strategies for water and sodium management in the context of the complex interplay between the cardiac and renal systems. A rationale for improving recognition and treatment of congestion is also proposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10741-014-9438-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4405162PMC
January 2015

Beta-blockers and ivabradine in chronic heart failure: from clinical trials to clinical practice.

Am J Cardiovasc Drugs 2014 Apr;14(2):101-10

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.

Beta-blockers have become one of the cornerstones of treatment of patients with heart failure (HF) and depressed left ventricular function, but in clinical practice only 30-35% of patients achieve the therapeutic target dose as established in randomized clinical trials. Moreover, high resting heart rate (HR) has emerged as a simple but relevant risk factor for cardiovascular events, including coronary artery disease and HF; also, it was found to have an independent prognostic value in patients with HF. Evidence that HR could be considered a good parameter to evaluate the quality of treatment in patients with HF has been suggested; of note, many patients maintain a resting HR ≥70 beats per minute despite optimal beta-blocker therapy. In recent years, a new drug able to reduce HR, ivabradine, has been introduced in clinical practice, and its use in the clinical setting of HF patients has been recommended by current European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines. Here we review the evidence of the prognostic role of HR in systolic HF and the potential relationship between HR lowering and the beneficial effects of beta-blockers; we will also analyze the reasons why an appropriate use of these drugs is seldom achieved in clinical practice, and review the evidence for the use of ivabradine in systolic HF in the clinical setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40256-013-0057-9DOI Listing
April 2014

Troponin I release after intravenous treatment with high furosemide doses plus hypertonic saline solution in decompensated heart failure trial (Tra-HSS-Fur).

Am Heart J 2012 Sep 17;164(3):351-7. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Department of Internal and Specialty Medicine, Chair of Clinical Pathophysiology, University of Palermo, Italy.

Background: High values of cardiac troponin in acute decompensated congestive heart failure (ADHF) identify patients at higher risk and worsened prognosis. A cardiac troponin increase during therapy indicates the need for more appropriate intervention, aimed at compensating cardiac disease and effectively minimizing myocardial wall stress and subsequent cytolysis. This study evaluated the effects of an intravenous high dose of furosemide with (group A) or without small volume hypertonic saline solution (HSS) (group B) on myocardial cytolysis in patients with ADHF.

Methods: A total of 248 consecutive patients with ADHF (148 men, mean age 74.9 ± 10.9 years) were randomly assigned to group A or B. Plasma levels of cardiac troponin-I, brain natriuretic peptide, glomerular filtration rate by Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula, bioelectrical impedance analysis measurements, and delta pressure/delta time (dP/dt) rate were observed on admission and discharge for all patients.

Results: We observed a significant reduction of cardiac troponin in both groups and a significant improvement in renal function, hydration state, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (P < .0001), end diastolic volume (P < .01), ejection fraction (P < .01), and dP/dt (P < .004) in group A. We also observed a significant reduction in body weight (64.4 vs 75.8 kg) (P < .001), cardiac troponin I (0.02 vs 0.31 ng/mL) (P < .0001) and brain natriuretic peptide (542 vs 1,284 pg/mL) (P < .0001), and hospitalization time (6.25 vs 10.2 days) (P < .0001) in the HSS group.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that intravenous high doses of furosemide do not increase myocardial injury and, in addition, when associated to HSS, significantly reduce cardiac troponin I release. This behavior is mirrored by the achievement of improved hemodynamic compensation at echocardiography and body hydration normalization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2012.05.025DOI Listing
September 2012

[The DOSE study].

G Ital Cardiol (Rome) 2012 Apr;13(4):229-33

I U.O. di Cardiologia-UTIC, A.O. San Camillo-Forlanini, Roma.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1714/1056.11553DOI Listing
April 2012

Thrombolysis for massive pulmonary embolism in pregnancy: a case report.

Int J Emerg Med 2011 Oct 31;4:69. Epub 2011 Oct 31.

Division of Cardiology, "Paolo Borsellino" G,F, Ingrassia Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

Mortality from pulmonary embolism (PE) in pregnancy might be related to challenges in targeting the right population for prevention. Such targeting could help ensure that the correct diagnosis is suspected and adequately investigated, and allow the initiation of the timely and best possible treatment of this disease. In the literature to date only 18 case reports of thrombolysis in pregnant women with PE have been reported, and showed beneficial effects for both mother and fetus in terms of mortality and complications with acceptable bleeding risks. We present here the case of a pregnant patient with massive PE who underwent successful thrombolysis. A 26-year-old pregnant (at 24 weeks) woman was admitted 4 h after onset of sudden acute dyspnea and chest pain. An immediate electrocardiogram showed a typical S1-Q3-T3 pattern. The echocardiogram showed a distended right ventricle with free-wall hypokinesia and displacement of the interventricular septum toward the left ventricle. Thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (alteplase 10 mg bolus, then 90 mg over 2 h) was administered. Pelvic examination and ultrasound showed regular fetal heart beat, and regular placental and liquid presence. No problems developed for the mother or fetus in the subsequent days or at discharge. In conclusion, in pregnant patients with life-threatening massive PE, thrombolytic therapy can be administered, and the use of echocardiographic, laboratory, and clinical data can be useful tools to achieve a rapid diagnosis and make a therapeutic decision, but additional studies need to be performed to further define its use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1865-1380-4-69DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222602PMC
October 2011

Short-term effects of hypertonic saline solution in acute heart failure and long-term effects of a moderate sodium restriction in patients with compensated heart failure with New York Heart Association class III (Class C) (SMAC-HF Study).

Am J Med Sci 2011 Jul;342(1):27-37

Biomedical Department of Internal Medicine, University of Palermo, Italy.

Introduction: Hypertonic saline solution (HSS) and a moderate Na restriction plus high furosemide dose showed beneficial effects in compensated heart failure (HF), in short and long terms. The study was aimed to verify the effects of this combination on hospitalization time, readmissions and mortality in patients in New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III.

Method: Chronic ischemic or nonischemic cardiomyopathy uncompensated patients with HF in NYHA III functional class with ejection fraction <40%, serum creatinine <2.5 mg/dL, blood urea nitrogen <60 mg/dL and reduced urinary volume were single-blind randomized in 2 groups: the first group received a 30-minute intravenous infusion of furosemide (250 mg) plus HSS (150 mL) twice daily and a moderate Na restriction (120 mmol); the second group received furosemide intravenous bolus (250 mg) twice a day, without HSS and a low Na diet (80 mmol); both groups received a fluid intake of 1000 mL/d. After discharge, the HSS group continued with 120 mmol Na/d; the second group continued with 80 mmol Na/d.

Results: A total of 1771 patients (881 HSS group and 890 without HSS group) met inclusion criteria: the first group (881 patients), compared with the second (890 patients), showed an increase in diuresis and serum Na levels, a reduction in hospitalization time (3.5 + 1 versus 5.5 + 1 days, P < 0.0001) and, during follow-up (57 + 15 months), a lower rate in readmissions (18.5% versus 34.2%, P < 0.0001) and mortality (12.9% versus 23.8%, P < 0.0001); the second group also showed a significant increase in blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine.

Conclusion: This study suggests that in-hospital HSS administration, combined with moderate Na restriction, reduces hospitalization time and that a moderate sodium diet restriction determines long-term benefit in patients with NYHA class III HF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31820f10adDOI Listing
July 2011

Early and personalized ambulatory follow-up to tailor furosemide and fluid intake according to congestion in post-discharge heart failure.

Intern Emerg Med 2013 Apr 19;8(3):221-8. Epub 2011 May 19.

Biomedical Department of Internal and Specialty Medicine Di.Bi.Mi.S., Division of Internal Medicine and Cardioangiology, Heart Failure Out-Patients Clinic, A.O.U. Policlinico Paolo Giaccone, University of Palermo, Piazza delle Cliniche 2, 90127 Palermo, Italy.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) worsening is a worldwide cause of rehospitalization and mortality, specially during the early period after hospitalization. Fluid accumulation plays a key role in the pathophysiology of both acute heart decompensation and disease progression. The effective use of drugs to maintain restored clinical stabilization in recently discharged patients is a difficult task, and it relies on matching the most appropriately tailored therapy to specific clinical profiles. However, no successful treatment has been shown to reduce post-discharge readmission. We evaluated in a case-control study the effectiveness of an early and personalized congestion-guided ambulatory program on medium-term (6 months) compensation in recently discharged CHF patients. Group A (22 patients) underwent a post-discharge close follow-up consisting of: an early clinic visit within 10 days; a second visit within 10 days after the first; and the other visits at month 1, 2, 3 after discharge. Controls (Group B, 21 patients) underwent a conventional ambulatory follow-up only at month 1, 2, 3 after discharge. The ambulatory approach in both groups was based on the monitoring of signs/symptoms of congestion and body weight, body hydration estimation by using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and laboratory data. This assessment was finalized to tailor furosemide and daily fluid intake at each visit to eliminate clinical or instrumental evidence of persistent congestion relieving the signs and symptoms. At 6 months, Group A was associated with a better clinical compensation (improved hydration state, lower BNP levels and congestion score), an improved quality of life, and reduced re-hospitalizations. We conclude that in CHF the early and personalized ambulatory follow-up based on congestion-guided treatment is effective to optimize management and maintain clinical stability in the post-discharge period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-011-0602-yDOI Listing
April 2013

Changes in estimating echocardiography pulmonary capillary wedge pressure after hypersaline plus furosemide versus furosemide alone in decompensated heart failure.

J Card Fail 2011 Apr 24;17(4):331-9. Epub 2010 Dec 24.

Biomedical Department of Internal and Specialty Medicine, University of Palermo, Piazza delle Cliniche 2, Palermo, Italy.

Background: The aim of the study was to verify the effects of hypertonic saline solution (HSS) plus a high furosemide dose and light restriction of sodium intake compared with a high-dose infusion of furosemide alone on pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP), as determined by Doppler echocardiography and tissue Doppler imaging in patients suffering from decompensated heart failure.

Methods And Results: Consecutive patients in New York Heart Association functional class IV, unresponsive to oral high doses of furosemide up to 250-500 mg/d and/or combinations of diuretics, with ejection fraction <40%, serum creatinine <2 mg/dL, blood urea nitrogen ≤60 mg/dL, reduced urinary volume (<500 mL/24 h), and low natriuresis (<60 mEq/24 h) were randomized into 2 groups (double blind). The first group received a furosemide infusion (250 mg) plus HSS (150 mL 3.0% Na) bid and light Na restriction (120 mmol), and the second group received furosemide infusion (250 mg) twice daily, and low Na diet (80 mmol). The fluid intake of both groups was restricted (1 L/d). Body weight, whole-body bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), 24-hour urinary volume, and serum and urinary laboratory parameters were measured daily. Estimations of echocardiographic PCWP (Echo-PCWP) were detected on entry, 1 hour after concluding the initial treatment, and 6 days thereafter. A total of 133 patients (47 women and 86 men), aged 65-82 years, met the entry criteria.The HSS group revealed a significant increase in daily diuresis, natriuresis, and serum sodium compared with the furosemide group. Six days after treatment, renal function was significantly improved in the HSS group. Both groups showed a significant reduction in Echo-PCWP, but the HHS group revealed a faster reduction and significant lower values at 6 days compared with the group taking furosemide alone. We observed a positive correlation between values of Echo-PCWP and BNP and an inverse correlation between BIA parameters and Echo-PCWP.

Conclusions: Our data show that the combination of high diuretic dose and HSS infusion plus light restriction in dietary sodium intake determine a more rapid and significant hemodynamic stabilization through the improvement of echo-PCWP, BNP levels, and BIA parameters than the group treated without HSS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardfail.2010.11.003DOI Listing
April 2011

Rhabdomyolysis induced by co-administration of fluvastatin and colchicine.

Monaldi Arch Chest Dis 2010 Sep;74(3):147-9

Division of Cardiology, Buccheri La Ferla-Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

A case of fluvastatin-induced rhabdomyolysis after coadministration of colchicine is reported. A 77 year old man with ischemic heart disease, chronic pericardial effusion, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, arterial hypertension, chronic renal failure (stage 2 of classification of chronic kidney disease of National Kidney Foundation) and chronic gout presented with a generalized muscle pain. The patient had been taking 80 mg/day of fluvastatin for 4 years, and, for four weeks before presentation, he had also been taking a dose of colchicine (1.0 mg daily) for an exacerbation of gout. Investigations confirmed the diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis. Discontinuation of fluvastatin and colchicine therapy and adequate fluid administration resulted in the resolution of clinical and biochemical features of rhabdomyolysis. Although neuromuscular adverse effects of fluvastatin and colchicine are well recognized, rhabdomyolysis is rare, making this is only the second case reported of fluvastatin and colchicine co-administration induced rhabdomyolysis in literature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/monaldi.2010.264DOI Listing
September 2010

Use of bivalirudin for heparin-induced thrombocytopaenia after thrombolysis in massive pulmonary embolism: a case report.

Int J Emerg Med 2010 Jul 21;3(3):197-9. Epub 2010 Jul 21.

A 68-year-old man was referred to the emergency department 6 h after onset of sudden acute dyspnoea. Immediate ECG showed sinus tachycardia with the typical S1-Q3-T3 pattern and incomplete right bundle branch block. The echocardiogram showed the presence of mobile thrombus in the right atrium, a distended right ventricle with free wall hypokinesia and displacement of the interventricular septum towards the left ventricle. Lung spiral computed tomography (CT) showed bilateral pulmonary involvement and confirmed the picture of a thrombotic system in the right atrium and caval vein. Thrombolytic treatment with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) and heparin (alteplase 10 mg bolus, then 90 mg over 2 h) was administered. Six hours after thrombolysis bleeding gums and significant reduction in platelet count (around 50,000) were observed. Heparin was discontinued and bivalirudin (0.1 mg/kg bolus and 1.75 mg/kg per h infusion) plus warfarin was initiated and continued for 5 days until the international normalised ratio (INR) was within the therapeutic range (2.0-3.0) for 2 consecutive days, with concomitant platelet count normalisation. Lung spiral and lower abdominal CT before discharge did not show the presence of clots in the pulmonary arteries of the right and left lung. This case suggests that bivalirudin could offer promise for use in patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopaenia (HIT) after thrombolysis for massive pulmonary embolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12245-010-0193-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2926873PMC
July 2010

Impact of ''off-label'' use of ivabradine on exercise capacity, gas exchange, functional class, quality of life, and neurohormonal modulation in patients with ischemic chronic heart failure.

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther 2010 Dec 12;15(4):349-55. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Division of Cardiology, Buccheri La Ferla-Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

Background: epidemiologic studies indicate that elevated heart rate (HR) is an independent risk factor for mortality and morbidity in patients (pts) with chronic heart failure (CHF). Clinical trials with β-blockers suggest that HR reduction is an important mechanism of their benefit in pts with stable CHF. Pharmacologic inhibition of the I(f) current now provides the opportunity of pure HR reduction. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of ''Off-Label'' use of ivabradine on exercise capacity, gas exchange, functional class, quality of life, and neurohormonal modulation in pts with ischemic CHF.

Methods: between January 2008 and June 2008, a graded maximal exercise test with respiratory gas analysis and an endurance test with constant workload corresponding to 85% of the peak VO(2) at the baseline and after 3 months were performed, and at the same times, N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels were also measured, in 60 pts (45 M, 15 F, mean age 52.7 ± 5.3 years), with stable ischemic CHF, New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classes II (n = 35)-III (n = 25), with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤ 40%, randomized to a ''off-label'' ivabradine use (n = 30) and a control group (n = 30).

Results: the exercise capacity increased from 14.8 ± 2.5 to 28.2 ± 3.5 min (P < .0001) and the peak oxygen consumption tended to improve from 13.5 ± 1.3 to 17.9 ± 2.4 mL/kg per minute (P < .0001) in ivabradine group. Oxygen consumption at the anaerobic threshold (AT) increased from 11.9 ± 1.4 to 15.3 ± 1.4 mL/kg per minute (P < .0001). NTproBNP levels decreased from 2356 ± 2113 pg/mL to 1434 ± 1273 pg/mL (P = .045). No significant differences were found in control group at 3 months. The positive ivabradine effects were also associated with an improvement in the NYHA functional class and quality of life.

Conclusion: the ''Off-Label'' use of ivabradine significantly improves the exercise capacity, gas exchange, functional heart failure class, quality of life, and neurohormonal modulation in pts with ischemic CHF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1074248410370326DOI Listing
December 2010

International collaborative systematic review of controlled clinical trials on pharmacologic treatments for acute pericarditis and its recurrences.

Am Heart J 2010 Oct;160(4):662-70

Unit of Heart Failure and Cardiac Rehabilitation, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.

Background: Acute pericarditis is common, yet uncertainty persists on its treatment. We thus aimed to conduct a comprehensive systematic review on pharmacologic treatments for acute or recurrent pericarditis.

Methods: Controlled clinical studies were searched in several databases and were included provided they focused on pharmacologic agents for acute pericarditis or its recurrences. Random-effect odds ratios (ORs) were computed for long-term treatment failure, pericarditis recurrence, rehospitalization, and adverse drug effects.

Results: From 2,078 citations, 7 studies were finally included (451 patients); but only 3 were randomized trials. Treatment comparisons were as follows: colchicine versus standard therapy (3 studies, 265 patients), steroids versus standard therapy (2 studies, 31 patients), low-dose versus high-dose steroids (1 study, 100 patients), and statins versus standard therapy (1 study, 55 patients). Colchicine was associated with a reduced risk of treatment failure (OR = 0.23 [0.11-0.49]) and recurrent pericarditis (OR = 0.39 [0.20-0.77]), but with a trend toward more adverse effects (OR = 5.27 [0.86-32.16]). Overall, steroids were associated with a trend toward increased risk of recurrent pericarditis (OR = 7.50 [0.62-90.65]). Conversely, low-dose steroids proved superior to high-dose steroids for treatment failure or recurrent pericarditis (OR = 0.29 [0.13-0.66]), rehospitalizations (OR = 0.19 [0.06-0.63]), and adverse effects (OR = 0.07 [0.01-0.54]). Data on statins were inconclusive.

Conclusions: Clinical evidence informing decision-making for the management of acute pericarditis and its recurrences is still limited to few, small, and/or low-quality clinical studies. Notwithstanding such major caveats, available studies routinely using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents in both experimental and control groups suggest a beneficial risk-benefit profile for colchicine and a detrimental one for steroids, especially when used at high dosages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2010.06.015DOI Listing
October 2010

Six-month echocardiographic study in patients with submassive pulmonary embolism and right ventricle dysfunction: comparison of thrombolysis with heparin.

Am J Med Sci 2011 Jan;341(1):33-9

G.F. Ingrassia Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

Introduction: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of thrombolysis versus heparin treatment on echocardiographic parameters and clinical outcome, during hospitalization and within the first 180 days after admission, in patients with first episode of submassive pulmonary embolism (SPE) and right ventricle dysfunction (RVD).

Methods: Consecutive patients (age, 18-75 years) with a first episode of SPE, symptoms onset since no more than 6 hours, normal blood pressure (>100 mm Hg), echocardiographic evidence of RVD and positive lung spiral computed tomography were double-blind randomized: 1 group received 100 mg of alteplase (10-mg bolus, followed by a 90-mg intravenous infusion over a period of 2 hours), while the other group received matching placebo. In addition to alteplase or placebo, both groups received an unfractionated heparin treatment. Echocardiogram was performed at admission, at 24, 48 and 72 hours, at discharge and at 3 and at 6 months after randomization.

Results: Seventy-two patients were included into the study; 37 were assigned to thrombolysis and 35 to placebo. Both groups were well matched with regard to features and clinical presentation. Thrombolysis group showed a significant early improvement of RV function compared with heparin group, and this improvement was observed also during the follow-up (180 days). The same group also showed significant reduction in clinical events during the hospitalization and follow-up.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that, in hemodynamically stable patients with SPE, thrombolysis shows an earliest reduction of RVD and a more favorable trend in clinical outcome, so, it could merit consideration in SPE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MAJ.0b013e3181f1fc3eDOI Listing
January 2011

Thrombolysis for massive pulmonary embolism in pregnancy: a case report.

Am J Emerg Med 2011 Jul 13;29(6):698.e1-4. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

Division of Cardiology “Paolo Borsellino”, G.F. Ingrassia Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2010.06.016DOI Listing
July 2011

Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure: Prognostic Comparison from Peak VO2 and VE/VCO2 Slope.

Open Cardiovasc Med J 2010 May 26;4:127-34. Epub 2010 May 26.

Division of Cardiology, Buccheri La Ferla Fatebenefratelli Hospital Palermo, Italy.

Background: Cardiopulmonary exercise testing with ventilatory expired gas analysis (CPET) has proven to be a valuable tool for assessing patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). The maximal oxygen uptake (peak V02) is used in risk stratification of patients with CHF. The minute ventilation-carbon dioxide production relationship (VE/VCO2 slope) has recently demonstrated prognostic significance in patients with CHF.

Methods: Between January 2006 and December 2007 we performed CPET in 184 pts (146 M, 38 F, mean age 59.8 +/- 12.9 years), with stable CHF (96 coronary artery disease, 88 dilated cardiomyopathy), in NYHA functional class II (n.107) - III (n.77), with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF)
Results: Peak VO2 and VE/VCO2 slope were demonstrated with univariate Cox regression analysis both to be significant predictor of cardiac-related mortality and hospitalization (p < 0.0001, respectively). Non survivors had a lower peak VO2 (10.49 +/- 1.70 ml/kg/min vs. 14.41 +/- 3.02 ml/kg/min, p < 0.0001), and steeper Ve/VCO2 slope (41.80 +/- 8.07 vs. 29.84 +/- 6.47, p < 0.0001) than survivors. Multivariate survival analysis revealed that VE/VCO2 slope added additional value to VO2 peak as an independent prognostic factor (chi2: 56.48, relative risk: 1.08, 95% CI: 1.03 - 1.13, p = 0.001). The results from Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a 1-year cardiac-related mortality of 75% in patients with VE/VCO2 slope >/= 35.6 and 25% in those with VE/VCO2 slope < 35.6 (log rank chi2: 67.03, p < 0.0001) and 66% in patients with peak VO2 12.2 ml/kg/min (log rank chi2: 50.98, p < 0.0001). One-year cardiac-related hospitalization was 77% in patients with VE/VCO2 slope >/= 32.5 and 23% in those with VE/VCO2 slope < 32.5 (log rank chi2: 133.80, p < 0.0001) and 63% in patients with peak VO2 12.3 ml/kg/min (log rank chi2: 72.86, p < 0.0001). The VE/VCO2 slope was demonstrated with receiver operating characteristic curve analysis to be equivalent to peak VO2 in predicting cardiac-related mortality (0.89 vs. 0.89). Although area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the VE/VCO2 slope was greater than peak VO2 in predicting cardiac-related hospitalization (0.88 vs 0.82), the difference was no statistically significant (p = 0.13).

Conclusion: These results add to the present body of knowledge supporting the use of CPET in CHF patients. The VE/VCO2 slope, as an index of ventilatory response to exercise, is an excellent prognostic parameter and improves the risk stratification of CHF patients. It is easier to obtain than parameters of maximal exercise capacity and is of equivalent prognostic importance than peak VO2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874192401004010127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908890PMC
May 2010

Wet BNP, fluid and hemodynamic status at discharge in acute heart failure.

Int J Cardiol 2010 Nov 31;145(2):335-336. Epub 2009 Dec 31.

Biomedical Department of Internal and Specialist Medicine, Heart Failure Unit, Policlinico "Paolo Giaccone", University Hospital of Palermo, Italy.

We comment the noteworthy results of Pimenta et al. concerning the significance of discharge BNP levels in acute HF patients. The innovation of Pimento's study is the systematic research of the potential relationship between BNP and clinical and hemodynamic parameters. We focused the attention on the importance of wet "BNP" in managing HF and its ability to reflect congestion and multiple underlying patho-physiological disturbances. The first observation, regarding the statistical order, underlines the importance of renal insufficiency at discharge in genesis of higher BNP levels. Secondly, we note that the relationship between natriuretic peptides and the non-invasive measurement of the fluid status assessed by bioelectrical impedance analysis was already demonstrated. Thirdly, we comment on the potential therapeutical implication of the verified relationship between BNP and albumin levels and we argue on the clinical utility of the albumin supplementation or hypertonic solutions in unstable HF management due to their oncotic power. Fourthly, we wish to further examine the role of central volemia. We underline that some studies had demonstrated that systemic congestion may be a mirror of central congestion and may also influence these levels alone in acute and also chronic HF patients. We believe that a concealed or poorly-assessed accumulation of systemic fluid is of crucial importance in managing HF, which frequently remains undiagnosed or inappropriately treated, thus requiring recurrent hospital readmission and disease progression. Furthermore not only BNP at discharge but also bioimpedance detection may be helpful to discover misdiagnosed congestion. We are of the opinion that, in cases of hospitalized HF and thereafter in ambulatory setting, the achievement and, then, maintenance of dry-wet tailoring diuretics, fluid and sodium intake is the key approach leading to a euvolemic status, a lowering of the NYHA class and an improvement in cardiac hemodynamics. All of these factors are conducive to lowered BNP plasma levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2009.11.059DOI Listing
November 2010

Long-term effects of dietary sodium intake on cytokines and neurohormonal activation in patients with recently compensated congestive heart failure.

J Card Fail 2009 Dec;15(10):864-73

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Palermo, Italy.

Background: A growing body of evidence suggests that the fluid accumulation plays a key role in the pathophysiology of heart failure (HF) and that the inflammatory and neurohormonal activation contribute strongly to the progression of this disorder.

Methods And Results: The study evaluated the long-term effects of 2 different sodium diets on cytokines neurohormones, body hydration and clinical outcome in compensated HF outpatients (New York Heart Association Class II). A total of 173 patients (105 males, mean age 72.5+/-7) recently hospitalized for worsening advanced HF and discharged in normal hydration and in clinical compensation were randomized in 2 groups (double blind). In Group 1, 86 patients received a moderate restriction in sodium (120mmol to 2.8g/day) plus oral furosemide (125 to 250mg bid); in Group 2, 87 patients: received a low-sodium diet (80mmol to 1.8g/day) plus oral furosemide (125 to 250mg bid). Both groups were followed for 12 months and the treatment was associated with a drink intake of 1000mL daily. Neurohormonal (brain natriuretic peptide, aldosterone, plasma rennin activity) and cytokines values (tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6) were significantly reduced with a significant increase of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 at 12 months in normal, P < .0001) than low-sodium group. The low-sodium diet showed a significant activation of neurohormones and cytokines and worsening the body hydration, whereas moderate sodium restriction maintained dry weigh and improved outcome in the long term.

Conclusions: Our results appear to suggest a surprising efficacy of a new strategy to improve the chronic diuretic response by increasing Na intake and limiting fluid intake. This counterintuitive approach underlines the need for a better understanding of factors that regulate sodium and water handling in chronic congestive HF. A larger sample of patients and further studies are required to evaluate whether this is due to the high dose of diuretic used or the low-sodium diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardfail.2009.06.002DOI Listing
December 2009

Comparison of ivabradine versus metoprolol in early phases of reperfused anterior myocardial infarction with impaired left ventricular function: preliminary findings.

J Card Fail 2009 Dec 3;15(10):856-63. Epub 2009 Jul 3.

Division of Cardiology, Paolo Borsellino, G.F. Ingrassia Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

Background: beta-blockers in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) are indicated for patients without a contraindication, particularly in patients with high heart rates (HR) or blood pressures. Epidemiological studies have shown that elevated HR represents a risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity. The study investigates the feasibility, tolerability, and the effects after 30 days of follow-up of ivabradine (IVA) versus metoprolol (METO) in early phases of anterior STEMI reperfused by percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Methods And Results: Patients with a first anterior STEMI, Killip class I-II, an acceptable echocardiographic window, and admitted within 4hours of the onset of symptoms, with an ejection fraction <50%. METO or IVA, 12hours after PCI (double blind), were administered twice per day. Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), electrocardiogram (ECG), and laboratory parameters were monitored during the study. At entry, day 10, day 30, and day 60, by echocardiography, the ESV, EDV, E/A ratio, E wave deceleration time, isovolumetric relaxation time were measured. A total of 155 (50 females, 105 males) patients were randomized in 2 groups: a group received METO (76 patients) 12hours after PCI and a group received IVA (79 patients) 12hours after PCI. The 2 groups were similar for clinical characteristics. No difference was evidenced in HR, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, age (range, 39-73 years), sex, ejection fraction (EF), creatine kinase peak, between the 2 groups at entry. Both groups were similar for time to angiography and interventional procedures and number of vessels diseased. IVA group: the 79 patients showed 2 side effects and 5 readmissions: 4 for ischemic events and 1 for heart failure, and 1 sudden death; METO group: the 76 patients had 4 ischemic events, 2 side effects, and 1 patient died during re-acute MI (intrastent thrombosis) and 8 readmissions for heart failure signs. The systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure showed a significant reduction in both groups, P < .0001, respectively), and significant lower values were observed in METO group, P=.0001). The HR was significantly reduced in both groups, P < .0001). IVA group showed a significant increase in EF, P=.0001, with concomitant reduction in ESV and EDV (P=.0001, and .048, respectively). The diastolic parameters were similar in both groups during study period.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that ivabradine may be administered early (12hours after PCI) to patients with successful PCI for anterior STEMI with an impaired left ventricular function and high HR and sinus rhythm. A larger sample of patients and further studies are required to evaluate the effects of ivabradine on clinical end points.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardfail.2009.05.013DOI Listing
December 2009

One-year renal and cardiac effects of bisoprolol versus losartan in recently diagnosed hypertensive patients: a randomized, double-blind study.

Clin Drug Investig 2009 ;29(9):591-600

Internal and Specialist Medicine Department, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

Background And Objectives: Hypertension is a significant cause of chronic renal injury and its effective treatment is capable of reducing the rate of renal failure. beta-Adrenoceptor antagonists (beta-blockers) have been reported to induce a deterioration in renal function, while several data have indicated a renoprotective effect of treatment with the angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist losartan. Previous studies of the interaction between the selective beta(1)-blocker bisoprolol and kidney function were performed only for short- and medium-term periods. The aim of this study was to compare the antihypertensive efficacy and renal and cardiac haemodynamic effects of bisoprolol with those of losartan over a 1-year time period in patients with essential hypertension.

Methods: Seventy-two patients (40 males) with recently diagnosed uncomplicated (European Society of Hypertension [ESH] criteria stage 1-2) hypertension (mean +/- SD age 52 +/- 12 years) were enrolled in the study. After a run-in period of 14 days on placebo, the patients were randomized in a double-blind, prospective study to receive either bisoprolol 5 mg or losartan 50 mg, administered once daily for 1 year. At recruitment and 12 months after treatment, cardiac output and renal haemodynamics and function were evaluated by echocardiography and radionuclide studies, respectively.

Results: There were no significant differences in baseline clinical data, including glomerular filtration rate and blood pressure, between the two treatment groups. At 1 year, blood pressure had decreased significantly (p < 0.001) with both treatments, and heart rate was reduced only in the group taking bisoprolol. The long-term effects on renal haemodynamics and cardiac function were similar with both drugs, the only change being a significant reduction in the filtration fraction for each group.

Conclusions: These data suggest that both bisoprolol and losartan are effective agents for the treatment of patients with recently diagnosed ESH stage 1-2 hypertension. Over a 1-year period, both agents maintained good renal and cardiac performance and haemodynamics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2165/11315250-000000000-00000DOI Listing
October 2009

Giant left atrium in a woman with mitral prosthetic valve malfunction and history of rheumatic heart disease.

Intern Emerg Med 2009 Oct 28;4(5):435-7. Epub 2009 Jul 28.

Biomedical Department of Internal and Specialist Medicine Policlinico Paolo Giaccone, University Hospital of Palermo, Piazza Delle Cliniche 2, 90127 Palermo, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-009-0280-1DOI Listing
October 2009

Medium term effects of different dosage of diuretic, sodium, and fluid administration on neurohormonal and clinical outcome in patients with recently compensated heart failure.

Am J Cardiol 2009 Jan 17;103(1):93-102. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Palermo, Italy.

Studies have shown that patients with compensated heart failure (HF) receiving high diuretic doses associated with normal sodium diet and fluid intake restrictions demonstrated significant reductions in readmissions and mortality compared with those who received low-sodium diets, and over a 6-month observation period, a reduction in neurohormonal activation was also observed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different sodium diets associated with different diuretic doses and different levels of fluid intake on hospital readmissions and neurohormonal changes after 6-month follow-up in patients with compensated HF. Four hundred ten consecutive patients with compensated HF (New York Heart Association class II to IV) aged 53 to 86 years, with ejection fractions <35% and serum creatinine <2 mg/dl, were randomized into 8 groups: group A (n = 52): 1,000 ml/day of fluid intake, 120 mmol/day, and 250 mg furosemide twice daily; group B (n = 51): 1,000 ml/day of fluid intake, 120 mmol/day, and 125 mg furosemide twice daily; group C (n = 51): 1,000 ml/day fluid intake, 80 mmol/day, and 250 mg furosemide twice daily; group D (n = 51): 1,000 ml/day fluid intake, 80 mmol/day, and 125 mg furosemide twice daily; group E (n = 52): 2,000 ml/day fluid intake, 120 mmol/day, and 250 mg furosemide twice daily; group F (n = 50): 2,000 ml/day fluid intake, 120 mmol/day, and 125 mg furosemide twice daily; group G (n = 52): 2,000 ml/day fluid intake, 80 mmol/day, and 250 mg furosemide twice daily; and group H (n = 51): 2,000 ml/day fluid intake, 80 mmol/day, and 125 mg furosemide twice daily. All patients received the treatments >or=30 days after discharge and for 180 days afterward. Signs of HF, body weight, blood pressure, heart rate, laboratory parameters, electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, brain natriuretic peptide, aldosterone, and plasma renin activity were examined at baseline and 180 days later. Group A showed the best results, with a significant reduction (p <0.001) in readmissions, brain natriuretic peptide, aldosterone, and plasma renin activity compared with the other groups during follow-up (p <0.001). In conclusion, these data suggest that the combination of a normal-sodium diet with high diuretic doses and fluid intake restriction, compared with different combinations of sodium diets with more modest fluid intake restrictions and conventional diuretic doses, leads to reductions in readmissions, neurohormonal activation, and renal dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.08.043DOI Listing
January 2009

Fever of unclear origin and cytopenia because of acute splenic sequestration in a young immunocompetent carrier of beta-globin mutation for Hb Valletta.

Am J Med Sci 2008 Dec;336(6):508-11

Biomedical Department of Internal and Specialistic Medicine, University Hospital of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

Fever of unclear origin is a clinical challenge in medical practice. Infectious diseases, neoplasms, and collagen vascular illnesses are its main causes in adults and children. Acute splenic sequestration crises, a known potentially fatal complication of sickle cell disease and sickle beta-thalassemia, are uncommon in beta-heterozygosis. We describe a case of prolonged recurrent episodes of fever with spontaneous resolution, commencing at age 10 in a 15-year-old boy with a history of hypochromic microcytic anemia attributed to a thalassemic trait. He was admitted twice to our university hospital for continuous-remittent fever with a pruritic, macular evanescent Still's skin rash, severe splenomegaly, leucopenia, thrombocytopenia, and sudden aggravation of anemia. Infectious, rheumatologic, autoimmune, and hematologic illnesses were excluded. A genetic-based study revealed heterozygosis of the beta-globin gene for a A>C (Thr>Pro) substitution at position 87 called Hemoglobin Valletta (alpha 2 beta 2 87 PRO) with a C>G transition in homozygosis in beta-globin intronic polymorphism intervening sequence 2 at nucleotide 745. After a follow-up period of 1 year without treatment, the young patient remains apyretic and in good general clinical health with persistent microcythemia and hepatosplenomegaly. Acute splenic sequestration crisis and related cytopenia may be an unusual complication of fever of unclear origin in a beta-thalassemic carrier of a Hemoglobin Valletta mutation and polymorphism in homozygosis of intervening sequence 2 at nucleotide 745. This hemoglobinopathy may predispose to a clinical phenotype of minor or intermediate thalassemia and, during a febrile illness, to hemoglobin instability and splenic sequestration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MAJ.0b013e318162d13fDOI Listing
December 2008
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