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1.  Pediatric hypertension: An update on a burning problem 
World Journal of Cardiology  2014;6(5):253-259.
A large number of adults worldwide suffer from essential hypertension, and because blood pressures (BPs) tend to remain within the same percentiles throughout life, it has been postulated that hypertensive pressures can be tracked from childhood to adulthood. Thus, children with higher BPs are more likely to become hypertensive adults. These “pre-hypertensive” subjects can be identified by measuring arterial BP at a young age, and compared with age, gender and height-specific references. The majority of studies report that 1 to 5% of children and adolescents are hypertensive, defined as a BP > 95th percentile, with higher prevalence rates reported for some isolated geographic areas. However, the actual prevalence of hypertension in children and adolescents remains to be fully elucidated. In addition to these young “pre-hypertensive” subjects, there are also children and adolescents with a normal-high BP (90th-95th percentile). Early intervention may help prevent the development of essential hypertension as they age. An initial attempt should be made to lower their BP by non-pharmacologic measures, such as weight reduction, aerobic physical exercise, and lowered sodium intake. A pharmacological treatment is usually needed should these measures fail to lower BP. The majority of antihypertensive drugs are not formulated for pediatric patients, and have thus not been investigated in great detail. The purpose of this review is to provide an update concerning juvenile hypertension, and highlight recent developments in epidemiology, diagnostic methods, and relevant therapies.
PMCID: PMC4062118  PMID: 24944755
Children; Hypertension; Blood pressure; Epidemiology; Diagnosis; Therapy
2.  QRS Complex Enlargement as a Predictor of Ventricular Arrhythmias in Patients Affected by Surgically Treated Tetralogy of Fallot: A Comprehensive Literature Review and Historical Overview 
ISRN Cardiology  2013;2013:782508.
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a congenital heart disease frequently treated by surgical repair to relieve symptoms and improve survival. However, despite the performing of an optimal surgical repair, TOF patients are at times characterized by a poor long-term survival rate, likely due to cardiac causes such as ventricular arrhythmias, with subsequent sudden death. In the 80s it was irrefutably demonstrated that QRS prolongation ≥180 msec at basal electrocardiogram is a strong predictor for refining risk stratification for ventricular tachycardia in these patients. The aim of this research was to undertake a review of all studies conducted to assess the impact of QRS duration on the development of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias in repaired TOF subjects.
PMCID: PMC3590565  PMID: 23509638
3.  Daily assessment of arterial distensibility in a pediatric population before and after smoking cessation 
Clinics  2014;69(4):219-224.
Cigarette smoking is an important modifiable cardiovascular risk factor associated with increased stiffness of the large arteries in adulthood. This study aimed to 1) evaluate arterial distensibility and echocardiographic measures in adolescent smokers before and after participation in a successful smoking cessation program and to 2) compare the findings obtained with data from a control population of healthy non-smokers.
A total of 31 young smoking subjects (58.1% male; range: 11-18 years old; mean: 16.5±1.4 years old; mean tobacco consumption: 2.6±0.6 years) were examined before commencing and after taking part for at least 1 year in a smoking cessation program (mean: 1.4±0.3 years). Arterial stiffness was measured using the previously validated QKd100-60 method. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and transthoracic echocardiography were also performed.
(Smokers before abuse cessation vs. smokers after abuse cessation) systolic blood pressure: p<0.004; diastolic blood pressure: p<0.02; mean blood pressure: p<0.01; QKd100-60 value: 183±5 vs. 196±3 msec, p<0.009; p = ns for all echocardiographic parameters. (Smokers after abuse cessation vs. controls) systolic blood pressure: p<0.01; diastolic blood pressure: p<0.03; mean blood pressure: p<0.02; QKd100-60 value: 196±3 vs. 203±2 msec, p<0.04; p<0.02, p<0.01, and p<0.05 for the interventricular septum, posterior wall, and left ventricular mass, respectively.
Despite successful participation in a smoking cessation program, arterial distensibility improved but did not normalize. This finding underlines the presence of the harmful effect of arterial rigidity in these individuals, despite their having quit smoking and their young ages, thus resulting in the subsequent need for a lengthy follow-up period.
PMCID: PMC3971354  PMID: 24714828
QKd Interval; Atherosclerosis; Smoking; Adolescence; Prevention
4.  About the need to use specific population references in estimating paediatric hypertension: Sardinian blood pressure standards (age 11-14 years) 
Previous Italian paediatric blood pressure (BP) tables overestimated the prevalence of hypertension in adolescents of specific geographic areas, such as Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean Sea. This is probably due to a not very homogeneous distribution of the subjects studied, most from Middle and Northern Italy, and the long period from the survey.
BPs were repeatedly measured over a period of 3 years in 839 children (52.6% males. Age range: from 11 to 14 years during this period), using a standard mercury sphygmomanometer. For each gender, the specific percentile curves of systolic and diastolic BP were constructed.
Results (corrected by the 50th percentile of height)
Males (11-14 years)
mean systolic BP (50th centile): from 111 to 115 mmHg. Hypertensive systolic BP (> 95th percentile): from 127 to 135 mmHg. Mean diastolic BP (50th centile): from 65 to 69 mmHg. Hypertensive diastolic BP (> 95th percentile): from 78 to 82 mmHg.
Females(11-14 years)
mean systolic BP (50th centile): from 110 to 112 mmHg. Hypertensive systolic BP (> 95th percentile): from 127 to 130 mmHg. Mean diastolic BP (50th centile): from 65 to 67. Hypertensive diastolic BP (> 95th percentile): from 78 to 80 mmHg.
Sardinian BP tables emphasizes the need to integrate the previous standards with more up-to-date and representative reports on Italian children, as periodically performed in the USA, in order to increase the number of subjects to be checked, and to obtain a national coverage better and more completely representative of every geographic area of our country.
PMCID: PMC3275472  PMID: 22233935
5.  Morgagni's diaphragmatic hernia mimicking a severe congenital heart disease in a newborn: a case report 
Morgagni's congenital diaphragmatic defect is a rare malformation, the diagnosis of which, as in our case report, may be problematic. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of this kind of hernia presenting with signs and symptoms of severe cardiac malformation.
Case presentation
We report the case of a three-month-old Caucasian baby boy, who presented with heart failure and severe pulmonary hypertension. Compression of the heart by a bowel loop in the chest led to an incorrect diagnosis of congenital heart disease.
Even in this era of highly sophisticated diagnostic tools, a simple radiograph can provide sufficient information for a precise, rapid diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3017073  PMID: 21143832
6.  Ventricular septal defect in a child with Alport syndrome: a case report 
Alport syndrome (AS) is a rare inherited disorder characterized by an inflammation of the kidneys and damage to the glomerular capillaries, ultimately leading to renal failure at an early age. To date, rare reports of cardiac involvement in AS have been described, due in the majority of cases to the higher risk of heart conduction abnormalities in these patients, at times requiring implantation of a transcutaneous pacemaker. An increased risk of hypertension is likewise commonly featured.
Case presentation
We report the case of a 17-year-old female affected by a very severe early form of AS. A previously unreported association of the syndrome with congenital heart disease (CHD), (in this case membranous ventricular septal defect), is also reported. A possible pathophysiological mechanism underlying the concomitant manifestation of these two disorders is suggested. Complications implicated in surgical treatment of CHD are described. Clinical and therapeutic management of AS with cardiovascular involvement are discussed, and a short literature review performed.
This first report of a cardiovascular association highlights the possible involvement of collagen mutations in the two pathologies. Even when drug-resistance appears to be responsible for the failure to control secondary hypertension in AS, clonidine may represent a safe, effective option in the normalization of high blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC2958932  PMID: 20920374
7.  Cor triatriatum and lipomatous hypertrophy of the interatrial septum in the elderly: a case report 
Cor triatriatum is a rare congenital heart defect characterized by the presence of a fibromuscular membrane dividing the left atrium into two distinct chambers. Lipomatous hypertrophy of the atrial septum is an infrequently observed benign abnormality caused by large fatty tissue deposits in the interatrial septum. An increased incidence of atrial arrhythmias is described in both pathologies, while a significant obstruction of blood flow mimicking mitral stenosis is typically manifested in cor triatriatum. We report the case of a 75-year-old woman with a previously undescribed association of the above stated abnormalities detected by both transthoracic and transeosophageal echocardiography. Diagnosis was confirmed by means of computed tomography. The singular physiologic and anatomic factors underlying survival until such a late age are described. The diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical management is discussed and a short review of the literature performed.
PMCID: PMC2844371  PMID: 20214784

Results 1-7 (7)