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Ymittos Athens, Greece

Farsalinos K.E.,Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center | Romagna G.,Abich s.r.l. Toxicological Laboratory
Clinical Medicine Insights: Case Reports

Introduction: Smoking is a major risk factor for a variety of diseases. Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine to the lungs by evaporation of a liquid. Chronic idiopathic neutrophilia is a condition characterized by elevated white blood cell and neutrophil counts without any underlying disease; smoking has been implicated as a potential cause. Case Presentation: A male Caucasian patient, born in 1977, presented in September 2005 with asymptomatic elevation of white blood cell and neutrophil count, and mildly-elevated C-reactive protein levels. He was a smoker since 1996 and was treated with 20 mg/day of simvastatin since 2003 due to hyperlipidemia. Clinical examination, and laboratory and imaging investigations ruled out any infectious, haematological, rheumatological, or endocrine conditions. He was followed-up regularly and was advised to stop smoking. He had 2 unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking; one was unassisted and the second was performed with the use of both varenicline and nicotine replacement therapy (patches). During the subsequent 6.5 years, his leukocyte and C-reactive protein levels were repeatedly elevated; the condition was consistent with chronic idiopathic neutrophilia. In February 2012, he started using electronic cigarettes and he managed to quit smoking within 10 days. After 6 months, laboratory examination showed normalized leukocyte count and C-reactive protein levels, confirmed immediately by a second laboratory and by repeated tests after 1 and 2 months. Conclusion: Smoking cessation with the use of electronic cigarette led to reversal of chronic idiopathic neutrophilia. The daily use of electronic cigarette may help preserve the beneficial effects of smoking cessation. © the author(s), publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Ltd. Source

Mavrogeni S.,Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center
Inflammation & allergy drug targets

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects many organs, including the heart. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) can assess heart pathophysiology in RA. To evaluate, using CMR, RA patients under remission with recent onset of cardiac symptoms. Twenty RA under remission (15F/5M), aged 60±5 yrs, with recent onset of cardiac symptoms (RAH), were prospectively evaluated by CMR. The CMR included left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), T2-weighted (T2-W), early (EGE) and late gadolinium enhanced (LGE) images evaluation. Their results were compared with those of 20 RA under remission without cardiac symptoms (RAC) and 18 with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with clinically overt myocarditis. Cardiac enzymes were abnormal in 5/20 RAH. CMR revealed inferior wall myocardial infarction in 2/20 (1M, 1F) and myocarditis in 13/20 (8M/5F) RAH. The T2 ratio of myocardium to skeletal muscle was increased in RAH and SLE compared to RAC (2.5 ± 0.05 and 3.4±0.7 vs 1.8 ± 0.5, p<0.001). EGE was increased in RAH and SLE compared to RAC (15 ± 3 and 12±4.7 vs 2.7±0.8, p<0.001). Epicardial LGEs were identified in 10/13 and pericarditis in 6/13 RAH. Coronary angiography, performed in 5 RAH with increased cardiac enzymes, proved a right coronary artery obstruction in 2/5. In 3/5 with CMR positive for myocarditis, coronary arteries were normal, but endomyocardial biopsy revealed inflammation with normal PCR. An RA relapse was observed after 7-40 days in 10/13 RAH with myopericarditis. The one year follow up showed that a) RAH with myocarditis had more disease relapses and b) CHF was developed in 4 RAH with myocarditis. Myopericarditis with atypical presentation, diagnosed by CMR in RA under remission, may precede the development of RA relapse. In 1 year follow up, RA patients with history of myocarditis have a higher frequency of disease relapse and may develop CHF. Source

Chambers J.B.,Cardiothoracic Center | Pomar J.L.,University of Barcelona | Mestres C.A.,University of Barcelona | Palatianos G.M.,Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Objective: The aim of the study was to establish clinical event rates for the On-X bileaflet mechanical heart valve (On-X Life Technologies Inc, Austin, Tex) using an audit of data from the 3 centers within Europe with the longest history of implanting. Methods: All patients receiving the On-X valve between March 1, 1998, and June 30, 2009, at 3 European centers were studied. Data were collected using questionnaire and telephone surveys augmented by outpatient visits and examination of clinical records. Results: There were 691 patients, with a mean age of 60.3 years, who received 761 valves in total: 407 mitral valve replacements, 214 aortic valve replacements, and 70 aortic + mitral valve replacements (dual valve replacement). Total follow-up was 3595 patient-years, with a mean of 5.2 years (range, 0-12.6 years). Early (≤30 days) mortality was 5.4% (mitral valve replacement), 0.9% (aortic valve replacement), and 4.3% (dual valve replacement). Linearized late (>30 days) mortality expressed per patient-year was 3.6% (mitral valve replacement), 2.2% (aortic valve replacement), and 4.1% (dual valve replacement), of which valve-related mortality was 0.5% (mitral valve replacement), 0.2% (aortic valve replacement), and 1.8% (dual valve replacement). Late linearized thromboembolism rates were 1.0% (mitral valve replacement), 0.6% (aortic valve replacement), 1.8% (dual valve replacement). Bleeding rates were 1.0% (mitral valve replacement), 0.4% (aortic valve replacement), and 0.9% (dual valve replacement). Thrombosis rates were 0.1% (mitral valve replacement), 0% (aortic valve replacement), and 0.3% (dual valve replacement). Reoperation rates were 0.6% (mitral valve replacement), 0.2% (aortic valve replacement), and 1.2% (dual valve replacement). Conclusions: The On-X valve has low adverse clinical event rates in longer-term follow-up (mean 5.2 years and maximum 12.6 years). Copyright © 2013 by The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Source

Mavrogeni S.,Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center | Dimitroulas T.,Dudley Group | Chatziioannou S.N.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Kitas G.,University of Manchester
Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism

Objectives: Takayasu arteritis is a rare large vessel vasculitis of unknown etiology, in which both early diagnosis and follow-up present very significant challenges. The high incidence of diseaseassociated morbidity and significant risk of premature death - particularly in young adults- mandate the need to facilitate early diagnosis and aggressive treatment where appropriate. The aim of this review is to summarize the current level of knowledge regarding the usefulness of evolving imaging modalities in the diagnostic workup and management of patients suffering with Takayasu arteritis. We also propose an imaging algorithm for the evaluation of this population. Methods: A MEDLINE search for articles published between January 1999 and December 2011 was conducted using the following keywords: Takayasu arteritis, imaging modalities, echocardiogram, cardiac magnetic resonance, positron emission tomography scan, diagnosis. Results: Imaging studies-particularly cardiac magnetic resonance- can assist early diagnosis by demonstrating vascular lesions even when angiography is negative, by identifying the presence of vascular inflammation and/or wall thickening; they are also useful for monitoring purposes. However, availability, expertise, high cost, and radiation are considerable limitations. Magnetic resonance imaging, although it can detect both anatomic and pathophysiologic changes without radiation, is time-consuming, needs high expertise, and still remains an expensive tool, not widely available. Conclusions: Knowledge of the advantages and limitations of the various imaging procedures can complement the physicians' clinical assessment and, along with nonspecific serologic tests, can aid them in diagnosing active arteritis and commence relevant treatment early on, as well as monitor activity and tailor therapy subsequently. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. Source

Farsalinos K.E.,Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center | Polosa R.,University of Catania
Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety

Electronic cigarettes are a recent development in tobacco harm reduction. They are marketed as less harmful alternatives to smoking. Awareness and use of these devices has grown exponentially in recent years, with millions of people currently using them. This systematic review appraises existing laboratory and clinical research on the potential risks from electronic cigarette use, compared with the well-established devastating effects of smoking tobacco cigarettes. Currently available evidence indicates that electronic cigarettes are by far a less harmful alternative to smoking and significant health benefits are expected in smokers who switch from tobacco to electronic cigarettes. Research will help make electronic cigarettes more effective as smoking substitutes and will better define and further reduce residual risks from use to as low as possible, by establishing appropriate quality control and standards. © The Author(s), 2014. Source

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