Publications by authors named "Roberto Lobello"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

What are the implications of the spontaneous spleno-renal shunts in liver cirrhosis?

BMC Gastroenterol 2009 Nov 24;9:89. Epub 2009 Nov 24.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Federico II University Medical School of Naples, Naples, Italy.

Background: Although significant advances are expected to be made in the assessment of the portal hypertension-related complications, the prognostic role of spleno-renal shunts has not been fully explored so far. Clarifying this aspect could help tackle the life-treating events occurring in patients suffering from liver cirrhosis. The aim of the study was to analyze the relationships between the spleno-renal shunts presence at doppler ultrasound and the liver cirrhosis complications.


Design: eighty one patients out of 129 formed the study population (35 females). Chronic liver damage in these patients was caused by HCV (66), HBV (2), alcohol abuse (2) or unknown etiology, likely non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (11).

Setting: two Liver Units of university/primary hospitals in Southern Italy.

Main Outcome Measures: grading of esofageal varices; detection of ascites: assessment of hepatic encephalopathy; evaluation of liver cirrhosis severity; tracking hepatocellular carcinoma; doppler features of spleno-renal shunts and splenic flow velocity; spleen longitudinal diameter at sonography.

Results: The prevalence of spleno-renal shunts was 18.5%, without no difference concerning the etiology (HCV versus non-HCV, p = 0.870); the prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with spleno-renal shunts was superior to that of patients without them (Pearson Chi-square, p = 0.006, power of sample size 74%), also after adjustment for liver decompensation (p = 0.024). The median score of hepatic encephalopathy in patients with and without spleno-renal shunts was similar, i.e., 0 (range, 0-2) versus 0 (0 - 3), p = 0.67. The median splenic vein flow velocity in patients with spleno-renal shunts was significantly inferior to that of patients without them, i.e., 13 cm/sec (95% confidence intervals, 6-18) versus 21 cm/sec (17-24), p < 0.0001. By far the largest percentage of large esophageal varices was in patients without spleno-renal shunts (p = 0.005). In contrast, the frequency of ascites and hepatic encephalopathy severity was overlapping in the two groups. BMI values but not Child-Pugh's classification predicted spleno-renal shunts (Ors = 1.84, 95% confidence intervals = 1.28-2.64, p = 0.001 and 1.145, 95% confidence intervals = 0.77-1.51, p = 0.66).

Conclusion: Taking into consideration the relatively small sample size, patients with spleno-renal shunts are burdened by an increased incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma. BMI predicted the spleno-renal shunts presence.
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November 2009

Blood ammonia levels in liver cirrhosis: a clue for the presence of portosystemic collateral veins.

BMC Gastroenterol 2009 Mar 17;9:21. Epub 2009 Mar 17.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Hepatology in Internal Medicine Section, Federico II University Medical School of Naples, Naples, Italy.

Background: Portal hypertension leads to the formation of portosystemic collateral veins in liver cirrhosis. The resulting shunting is responsible for the development of portosystemic encephalopathy. Although ammonia plays a certain role in determining portosystemic encephalopathy, the venous ammonia level has not been found to correlate with the presence or severity of this entity. So, it has become partially obsolete. Realizing the need for non-invasive markers mirroring the presence of esophageal varices in order to reduce the number of endoscopy screening, we came back to determine whether there was a correlation between blood ammonia concentrations and the detection of portosystemic collateral veins, also evaluating splenomegaly, hypersplenism (thrombocytopenia) and the severity of liver cirrhosis.

Methods: One hundred and fifty three consecutive patients with hepatic cirrhosis of various etiologies were recruited to participate in endoscopic and ultrasonography screening for the presence of portosystemic collaterals mostly esophageal varices, but also portal hypertensive gastropathy and large spontaneous shunts.

Results: Based on Child-Pugh classification, the median level of blood ammonia was 45 mcM/L in 64 patients belonging to class A, 66 mcM/L in 66 patients of class B and 108 mcM/L in 23 patients of class C respectively (p < 0.001).The grade of esophageal varices was concordant with venous ammonia levels (rho 0.43, p < 0.001). The best area under the curve was given by ammonia concentrations, i, e., 0.78, when comparing areas of ammonia levels, platelet count and spleen longitudinal diameter at ultrasonography. Ammonia levels predicted hepatic decompensation and ascites presence (Odds Ratio 1.018, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Identifying cirrhotic patients with high blood ammonia concentrations could be clinically useful, as high levels would lead to suspicion of being in presence of collaterals, in clinical practice of esophageal varices, and pinpoint those patients requiring closer follow-up and endoscopic screening.
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March 2009

The contribution of omental adipose tissue to adipokine concentrations in patients with the metabolic syndrome.

Clin Invest Med 2007 ;30(5):E192-9

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Federico II University Medical School of Naples, Italy.

Purpose: To examine differences in peripheral vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), interleukin-6 (IL6) and cortisol concentrations between patients with both visceral obesity and metabolic syndrome, and lean controls. In a subsample of metabolic patients underwent abdominal surgery, the adipokine concentrations were measured in venous blood from the omentum to determine information on some processes of synthesis.

Methods: Forty-two healthy lean controls and 46 overweight-obese patients with central adiposity and stigmata of metabolic syndrome were studied. In a subsample of 11 metabolic patients undergoing non-bariatric surgery, blood samples from omental and peripheral veins were taken intraoperatively to determine VEGF, IL6 and cortisol concentrations.

Results: Median levels (range) of peripheral VEGF and IL6 were higher in patients than in controls [31.5 (3-112) pg/mL vs 21.35 (9-41.9) pg/mL (P < 0.05) and 5.50 (1.40-13) pg/mL vs 1.15 (0.3-1) pg/mL (P < 0.0001)]. On the other hand, concentrations of VEGF and IL6 from the omental and peripheral veins were similar in the surgery sub-group. Peripheral cortisol concentrations were not higher in patients than in controls, nor were omental concentrations different from the peripheral. Omental and peripheral VEGF and cortisol values were correlated, whereas no association was found between omental and peripheral IL6.

Conclusions: In the presence of abdominal obesity, VEGF and IL6 concentrations are increased in the systemic circulation. The contribution of visceral adipose tissue to circulating levels of VEGF and IL6 was modest.
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March 2008

Estimation of bulky lymph nodes by power Doppler ultrasound scanning in patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma: a prospective study.

Haematologica 2006 Jul;91(7):960-3

Department of Biochemistry and Medical Biotechnology, Federico II University Medical School, Naples, Italy.

The accuracy of standard methods in estimating bulky lesions requires validation. We used clinical/computed tomography (CT) evaluation and power Doppler ultrasound (US) to detect bulky disease in 137 consecutive Hodgkin's lymphoma patients, and analyzed the prognostic relevance of each method. Bulky disease was detected by clinical/CT evaluation in 47% of the patients and by power Doppler US in 20%. After treatment, at multivariate analysis power Doppler US-selected bulky disease was the parameter that best correlated with freedom from treatment failure (p<0.001). Power Doppler US, a readily available imaging technique, provides a better prognostic classification by detecting true bulky disease more accurately.
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July 2006

Silent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-a clinical-histological study.

J Hepatol 2004 Nov;41(5):751-7

Section of Hepatology in Internal Medicine, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Federico II University Medical School, Via S. Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Background/aims: We studied the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic-steatohepatitis in patients with metabolic-syndrome but normal liver enzymes. The histological findings of patients with normal liver enzymes and non-alcoholic-steatohepatitis were compared with those of a control-group with persistently abnormal liver enzymes.

Methods: Patients presenting with normal liver enzymes were enrolled in the study and underwent liver biopsy. Prevalence of non-alcoholic-steatohepatitis and risk factors for fibrosis and cirrhosis were evaluated. Data from a control-group with non-alcoholic-steatohepatitis and abnormal liver enzymes were used to compare the histological findings.

Results: Fifty-eight of the 80 patients enrolled had varying degrees of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, of these 26 had fibrosis and 8 silent cirrhosis. The association of metabolic-syndrome, female-sex, a long-history of obesity and body mass index>45 were considered to be independent risk-factors for fibrosis. Comparing the histological findings of cases and controls we found a similar severity of steatosis and fibrosis, with a greater prevalence of ballooning degeneration and glycogenated-nuclei rather than lobular-inflammation.

Conclusions: In the subjects selected according to our criteria, liver enzyme levels could not be used as surrogate markers of non-alcoholic-steatohepatitis. Histological hallmarks of patients with metabolic-syndrome, normal liver enzymes and non-alcoholic-steatohepatitis consist to a lesser degree of lobular-inflammation and a more severe ballooning and glycogenated-nuclei.
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November 2004

Randomized comparison of power Doppler ultrasound-directed excisional biopsy with standard excisional biopsy for the characterization of lymphadenopathies in patients with suspected lymphoma.

J Clin Oncol 2004 Sep;22(18):3733-40

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, CEINGE-Biotecnologie Avanzate, Federico II University Medical School, Naples, Italy.

Purpose: The sensitivity of lymph node excisional biopsy requires validation. Power Doppler ultrasound (US) helps predict the malignant status of lymphadenopathies. We used power Doppler US to select for biopsy the lymph node most suspected of malignancy.

Patients And Methods: One hundred fifty-two patients having lymphadenopathies with clinical suspicion of lymphoma were divided into two well-matched groups and randomly assigned to undergo either standard or power Doppler US-directed lymph node excisional biopsy.

Results: Histology showed a malignancy in 64% of patients in the standard group (lymphoma, 49 patients; carcinoma, two patients) and in 87% of patients in the US-assisted group (lymphoma, 62 patients; carcinoma, one patient). There were significantly fewer biopsy-related complications in the assisted group than in the standard group. During the follow-up of the patients with lymph nodes reported as being reactive, 14 of 29 patients in the standard group were rebiopsied and were found to have lymphoma (13 patients) or carcinoma at the subsequent lymph node histology, whereas none of the patients in the assisted group (nine patients) required a second biopsy. Thus, biopsy provided false-negative results for malignancy in 21% of patients affected by lymphoma in the standard group and never in the assisted group (P <.01).

Conclusion: Power Doppler US is an accurate tool for screening lymphadenopathies to be removed by excisional biopsy in patients with suspected lymphoma.
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September 2004