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1.  Inappropriateness of Cardiovascular Radiological Imaging Testing; A Tertiary Care Referral Center Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81161.
Radiological inappropriateness in medical imaging leads to loss of resources and accumulation of avoidable population cancer risk. Aim of the study was to audit the appropriateness rate of different cardiac radiological examinations.
Methods and Principal Findings
With a retrospective, observational study we reviewed clinical records of 818 consecutive patients (67±12 years, 75% males) admitted from January 1-May 31, 2010 to the National Research Council – Tuscany Region Gabriele Monasterio Foundation cardiology division. A total of 940 procedures were audited: 250 chest x-rays (CXR); 240 coronary computed tomographies (CCT); 250 coronary angiographies (CA); 200 percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). For each test, indications were rated on the basis of guidelines class of recommendation and level of evidence: definitely appropriate (A, including class I, appropriate, and class IIa, probably appropriate), uncertain (U, class IIb, probably inappropriate), or inappropriate (I, class III, definitely inappropriate). Appropriateness was suboptimal for all tests: CXR (A = 48%, U = 10%, I = 42%); CCT (A = 58%, U = 24%, I = 18%); CA (A = 45%, U = 25%, I = 30%); PCI (A = 63%, U = 15%, I = 22%). Top reasons for inappropriateness were: routine on hospital admission (70% of inappropriate CXR); first line application in asymptomatic low-risk patients (42% of CCT) or in patients with unchanged clinical status post-revascularization (20% of CA); PCI in patients either asymptomatic or with miscellaneous symptoms and without inducible ischemia on non-invasive testing (36% of inappropriate PCI).
Conclusion and Significance
Public healthcare system – with universal access paid for with public money – is haemorrhaging significant resources and accumulating avoidable long-term cancer risk with inappropriate cardiovascular imaging prevention.
PMCID: PMC3842240  PMID: 24312272
2.  Trends of Increasing Medical Radiation Exposure in a Population Hospitalized for Cardiovascular Disease (1970–2009) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50168.
High radiation doses employed in cardiac imaging may increase cancer frequency in exposed patients after decades. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relative trends in medical radiation exposure in a population hospitalized for cardiovascular disease.
Methods and Results
An observational single-center study was conducted to examine 16,431 consecutive patients with heart disease admitted to the Italian National Research Council Institute of Clinical Physiology between January 1970 and December 2009. In all patients, the cumulative estimated effective dose was obtained from data mining of electronic records of hospital admissions, adopting the effective dose typical values of the American Heart Association 2009 statement and Mettler’s 2008 catalog of doses. Cumulative estimated effective dose per patient in the last 5 years was 22 (12–42) mSv (median, 25th–75th percentiles), with higher values in ischemic heart disease (IHD), 37 (20–59) vs non-IHD, 13 (8–22) mSv, p<0.001. Trends in radiation exposure showed a steady increase in IHD and a flat trend in non-IHD patients, with variation from 1970–74 to 2005–2009 of +155% for IHD (p<0.001) and −1% in non-IHD (NS). The relative contribution of different imaging techniques was remodeled over time, with nuclear cardiology dominating in 1970s (23% of individual exposure) and invasive fluoroscopy in the last decade (90% of individual exposure).
A progressive increase in cumulative estimated effective dose is observed in hospitalized IHD patients. The growing medical radiation exposure may encourage a more careful justification policy regarding ionizing imaging in cardiology patients applying the two main principles of radiation protection: appropriate justification for ordering and performing each procedure, and careful optimization of the radiation dose used during each procedure.
PMCID: PMC3509131  PMID: 23209665
3.  T−786→C polymorphism of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene is associated with insulin resistance in patients with ischemic or non ischemic cardiomyopathy 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:92.
Insulin resistance (IR) and endothelial dysfunction are frequently associated in cardiac disease. The T−786→C variant in the promoter region of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) gene has been associated with IR in both non-diabetic and diabetic subjects. Aim of the study was to assess the reciprocal relationships between T−786→C eNOS polymorphism and IR in ischemic and non-ischemic cardiomyopathy.
A group of 132 patients (108 males, median age 65 years) with global left ventricular (LV) dysfunction secondary to ischemic or non-ischemic heart disease was enrolled. Genotyping of T−786→C eNOS gene promoter, fasting glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance (defined as HOMA-IR index > 2.5) were determined in all patients.
Genotyping analysis yielded 37 patients homozygous for the T allele (TT), 70 heterozygotes (TC) and 25 homozygous for C (CC). Patients with CC genotype had significantly higher systemic arterial pressure, blood glucose, plasma insulin and HOMA index levels than TT. At multivariate logistic analysis, the history of hypertension and the genotype were the only predictors of IR. In particular, CC genotype increased the risk of IR (CI% 1.4-15.0, p < 0.01) 4.5-fold. The only parameter independently associated with the extent of LV dysfunction and the presence of heart failure (HF) was the HOMA index (2.4 CI% 1.1-5.6, p < 0.04).
T−786→C eNOS polymorphism was the major independent determinant of IR in a population of patients with ischemic and non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. The results suggest that a condition of primitive eNOS lower expression can predispose to an impairment of glucose homeostasis, which in turn is able to affect the severity of heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3495192  PMID: 23031426
eNOS polymorphism; Insulin resistance; Heart failure
4.  Allergic rhinitis and association with the O blood group 
PMCID: PMC3459376  PMID: 23049354

Results 1-4 (4)