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1.  Management of unusual genital lymphedema complication after Fournier’s gangrene: a case report 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:26.
Fournier’s gangrene is a bacterial infection characterized by necrotizing fasciitis, skin and soft tissue involvement, and eventually myositis of the perineal region. Aggressive debridement of devitalized tissue and overlying skin is of paramount importance, but often leaves large defects to be reconstructed. The present case reports successful extensive perineal defects coverage following Fournier’s gangrene and management of subsequent penile lymphoedema impairing sexual function in a young patient.
Case presentation
Following perianal abscess drainage, a healthy young man presented with scrotal pain. Fournier’s gangrene was diagnosed and treated with multiple surgical debridements. Tissue excision extended through the entire perineal area, base of the penile shaft, lower abdominal region, the inner thighs, and gluteal region, corresponding to 12% of the total body surface area. After serial debridements and negative pressure dressings, the defect was covered by two stages of skin grafting. Graft take was 90%. Healing was achieved without hypertrophic or retractile scar. However, chronic penile lymphedema remained and was first treated with compressive garments for 2 years. Upon failure of this conservative approach, we performed a circumcision, but only a “penile lift” allowed a satisfactory esthetical and functional result.
Fournier’s gangrene can be complicated by a chronic lymphedema of the penis. Conservative treatment is likely to fail in severe cases and can be treated surgically by “penile lift”.
PMCID: PMC3543169  PMID: 23259537
Fournier’s gangrene; Penile lymphedema; Negative pressure wound therapy; Perineal reconstruction
2.  Effects of local phenytoin on seroma formation after mastectomy and Axillary lymph node dissection: an experimental study on mice 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:25.
Seroma formation is the most common complication after breast cancer surgery. It is an important complication since it prolongs therapy duration, increases cost, and negatively affects patient psychology. Currently, there is no widely accepted method that prevents seroma formation. We tried to investigate impact of local phenytoin application on seroma formation following an experimental mastectomy model created in rats.
Two groups including eight rats in each were randomized. Saline injection was applied in the first group, whereas 1% phenytoin was locally used in the second group. Ten days after the surgery, seroma formation and wound-healing processes were evaluated using histopathological and biochemical examinations.
Phenytoin significantly decreased seroma formation. Fibrosis was significantly increased and angiogenesis was significantly reduced in the phenytoin group (P < 0.05). Increased levels of macrophage and lymphocyte infiltration was detected in the control group (P < 0.05). No difference was detected between the groups in terms of necrosis, edema, congestion, and PNL (Polymorphonuclear leucocyte) and fibroblast infiltration.
Seroma formation-reducing effect of phenytoin might have occurred over its anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenetic, and fibrosis augmenting effects.
PMCID: PMC3563462  PMID: 23253781
Mastectomy; Lymph node dissection; Breast cancer
3.  The sitting position during neurosurgical procedures does not influence serum biomarkers of pulmonary parenchymal injury 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:24.
The sitting position during neurosurgical operations predisposes to air penetration through veins and the movement of the air through the pulmonary circulation. Contact of an air bubble with the endothelium can lead to acute lung injury. The presence of specific pulmonary proteins in the plasma such as surfactant protein D (SP-D) and Clara cell protein (CC16) is a biomarker of damaging processes at the air-blood barrier. The aim of our study was to examine the hypothesis that the level of investigated pulmonary biomarkers in plasma is higher in patients operated on in the sitting position.
The study included patients undergoing planned neurosurgical operations, who were divided into two groups: the sitting group (40 patients, operated on in the sitting position) and the supine group (24 patients, operated in the supine position). After the operation blood samples were drawn, centrifuged, frozen and stored until analyses were conducted. The determination of the SP-D and CC16 levels was performed using an ELISA test. Air embolism (VAE) was defined as a sudden drop in etCO2 of more than 2 mmHg and the presence of air bubbles in the aspirated blood from the central cannula. In all patients, the number of hospitalization days in the postoperative period was calculated.
There were no differences in the average levels of SP-D between the groups (the mean in the sitting group was 95.56 ng/mL and the mean in the supine group was 101.21 ng/mL). The average levels of CC16 were similar in both groups as well (6.56ng/mL in the sitting group and 6.79ng/mL in the supine group). There was a statistically significant positive correlation between SP-D and CC16 values in both groups. VAE was diagnosed clinically in 12.5% of cases in the sitting group without a significant increase in SP-D and CC16 levels. On average, patients in both groups were discharged from the hospital within 9 days of surgery.
The sitting position and intraoperative VAE during neurosurgical procedures do not affect the concentration of plasma biomarkers of pulmonary parenchymal injury such as SP-D and CC16.
PMCID: PMC3521202  PMID: 23217172
Sitting position; Surfactant protein D; Clara cell protein; Air embolism
4.  Endovascular treatment of lower extremity arteries is associated with an improved outcome in diabetic patients affected by intermittent claudication 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S19.
Lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (LE-PAD) is a highly prevalent condition among diabetic patients, associated with reduced walking capacity and a high incidence of cardiovascular events. Endovascular revascularization of lower extremities arteries improves walking performance and quality of life of diabetic patients affected by intermittent claudication, but few studies evaluated the impact of revascularization on cardiovascular outcome in this high-risk population. Accordingly, in the present study we evaluated if leg-ischemia resolution by effective lower limbs percutaneous revascularization can also impact cardiovascular outcome in a homogeneous group of diabetic patients affected by intermittent claudication.
236 diabetic patients affected by LE-PAD at stage II of Fontaine’s classification, with ankle/brachial index ≤0.90 and one or more hemodynamically significant stenosis in at least one artery of the ileo-femoro-popliteal axis were enrolled in the study. According to the Trans-Atlantic Inter Society Consensus II recommendations, 123 (52.1%) underwent percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA group), while 113 (47.9%) underwent conservative medical therapy only (MT group). The incidence of major cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, coronary or carotid revascularization) was prospectively analyzed with Kaplan-Meier curves and the risk of developing a cardiovascular event calculated by Cox analyses.
No baseline difference in cardiovascular risk factors were observed between the PTA and MT groups, except for a lower prevalence of males in PTA group (74.8% vs. 85.8%, p=0.034). Furthermore, patients in the PTA group showed a worse walking capacity as expressed by maximum walking distance (108.7 ± 300.9 vs 378.4 ± 552.3 meters, p<0.001). During a median follow-up of 20 months (12.0-29.0), the incidence of cardiovascular events was markedly lower in patients in the PTA group with respect to patients in the MT group (7.3% vs. 22.1%, p=0.001), and patients of the MT group had at Cox analysis a 3.9 increased risk with respect to PTA group, after adjustment for potential confounding factors (95% CI 1.1-15.3, p=0.049).
The present study shows that lower limbs revascularization of diabetic patients affected by intermittent claudication, in addition to improve walking performance, is associated with a reduction in the incidence of future major cardiovascular events.
PMCID: PMC3499211  PMID: 23174008
5.  Surgery for a gastric Dieulafoy’s lesion reveals an occult bleeding jejunal diverticulum. A case report 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S29.
Jejunal diverticulosis is an uncommon disease and usually asymptomatic. It can be complicated not only by diverticulitis, but by hemorrhage, perforation, intussusception, volvulus, malabsorption and even small bowel obstruction due to enteroliths formed and expelled from these diverticula.
We describe a case of an occult bleeding jejunal diverticulum, casually discovered in a patient that was taken to surgery for a Dieulafoy’s lesion after unsuccessful endoscopic treatment. We performed a gastric resection together with an ileocecal resection.
Macroscopic and microscopic examinations confirmed the gastric Dieulafoy’s lesion and demonstrated the presence of another source of occult bleeding in asymptomatic jejunal diverticulum.
The current case emphasizes that some gastrointestinal bleeding lesions, although rare, can be multiple and result in potentially life-threatening bleeding. The clinician must be mindful to the possibility of multisite lesions and to the correlation between results of the investigations and clinical condition of the bleeding patient.
PMCID: PMC3499193  PMID: 23173883
6.  Treatment of a rapidly expanding thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm after endovascular repair of descending thoracic aortic aneurysm in an old patient 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S26.
Aortic pathology progression and/or procedure related complications following endovascular repair should always be considered mostly in older patients. We herein describe a hybrid procedure for treatment of rapidly expanding thoracoabdominal aneurysm following endovascular treatment of a descending thoracic aortic aneurysm in an older patient.
Case presentation
A 82-year-old man at 18 months after endovascular surgery for a contained rupture of descending thoracic aortic aneurysm revealed a type IV thoracoabdominal aneurysm with significant increase of the aortic diameters at superior mesenteric and renal artery levels. A hybrid approach consisting of preventive visceral vessel revascularization and endovascular repair of entire abdominal aorta was performed. Under general anaesthesia and by xyphopubic laparotomy, the infrarenal aneurysmatic aorta and common iliac arteries were replaced by a bifurcated woven prosthetic graf. From each of the prosthetic branches two reverse 14x7 mm bifurcated PTFE prosthetic grafts were anastomized to both renal arteries and to the celiac axis and superior mesenteric artery, respectively. Vessel ischemia was restricted to the time required for anastomosis. Three 10 cm Gore endovascular stent-grafts for a total length of 15 cm, were used. The overlapping of the stent-grafts was carried out from the bottom upwards, starting from the aorto-iliac prosthetic body up to the healthy segment of thoracic aorta, 40 mm from the previous stent-grafts.
The patient was discharged on the 9th postoperative day.
This technique offers the advantage of a less invasive treatment, reducing the risk of paraplegia, visceral ischaemia and pulmonary complications, mostly in older patients.
PMCID: PMC3499194  PMID: 23173764
7.  Potential role of probiotics on colorectal cancer prevention 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S35.
Colorectal cancer represents the most common malignancy of the gastrointestinal tract. Owing to differences in dietary habits and lifestyle, this neoplasm is more common in industrialized countries than in developing ones. Evidence from a wide range of sources supports the assumption that the link between diet and colorectal cancer may be due to an imbalance of the intestinal microflora.
Probiotic bacteria are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a healthy benefit on the host, and they have been investigated for their protective anti-tumor effects. In vivo and molecular studies have displayed encouraging findings that support a role of probiotics in colorectal cancer prevention.
Several mechanisms could explain the preventive action of probiotics against colorectal cancer onset. They include: alteration of the intestinal microflora; inactivation of cancerogenic compounds; competition with putrefactive and pathogenic microbiota; improvement of the host’s immune response; anti-proliferative effects via regulation of apoptosis and cell differentiation; fermentation of undigested food; inhibition of tyrosine kinase signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC3499195  PMID: 23173670
8.  Diverticular disease hospital cost impact analysis: evaluation of testings and surgical procedures in inpatient and outpatient admissions 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S3.
Diverticular Disease (DD) is a common condition in Italy and in other western countries. There is not much data concerning DD’s impact on budget and activity in hospitals.
The aim is to detect the clinical workload and the financial impact of diverticular disease in hospitals.
Retrospective observational study of all patients treated for diverticular disease during the period of seven years in AOU Federico II. Analysis of inpatient and outpatient investigations, treatment, hospitalization and financial refunds.
A total of 738 patients were treated and 840 hospital discharge records were registered. There were a total number of 4101 hospitalization days and 753 outpatient accesses. The investigations generated were 416 endoscopies, 197 abdominal CT scans, 177 abdominal ultrasound scans, 109 X-rays tests. A total of 193 surgical operations were performed. The total cost of this activity was € 1.656.802 or 0.2% of the total budget of the hospital. € 1.346.218, were attributable to the department of general surgery, 0.9% of the department’s budget .
The limited impact of diverticular disease on the budget and activity of AOU Federico II of Naples is mainly due to the absence of an emergency department.
PMCID: PMC3499196  PMID: 23173922
9.  Centenarians and supercentenarians: a black swan. Emerging social, medical and surgical problems 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S36.
The Black Swan Theory was described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book “The Black Swan”. This theory refers to “high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events beyond the realm of normal expectations”. According to Taleb’s criteria, a Black Swan Event is a surprise, it has a major impact and after the fact, the event is rationalized by hindsight, as if it had been expected. For most of human history centenarians were a rare and unpredictable phenomenon. The improvements of the social-environmental conditions, of medical care, and the quality of life caused a general improvement of the health status of the population and a consequent reduction of the overall morbidity and mortality, resulting in an overall increase of life expectancy. The study of centenarians and supercentenarians had the objective to consider this black swan and to evaluate the health, welfare, social and economic consequences of this phenomenon.
PMCID: PMC3499197  PMID: 23173707
10.  Comparative study between Levobupivacaine and Bupivacaine for hernia surgery in the elderly 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S12.
The inguinal hernia is one of the most common diseases in the elderly. Treatment of this type of pathology is exclusively surgical and relies almost always on the use of local anesthesia. While in the past hernia surgery was carried out mainly by general anesthesia, in recent years there has been growing emphasis on the role of local anesthesia.
The aim of our study was to compare intra-and postoperative analgesia obtained by the use of levobupivacaine compared with that of bupivacaine. Bupivacaine is one of the main local anesthetics used in the intervention of inguinal hernioplasty. Levobupivacaine is an enantiomer of racemic bupivacaine with less cardiotoxicity and neurotoxicity. The study was conducted from April 2010 to May 2012. We collected data of forty male patients, aged between 73 and 85 years, who underwent inguinal hernioplasty with local anesthesia for the first time.
Minimal pain is the same in both groups. Mild pain was more frequent in the group who used bupivacaine, moderate pain was slightly more frequent in the group who used levobupivacaine, and the same for intense pain. It is therefore evident how Bupivacaine is slightly less preferred after four and twenty four hours, while the two drugs seem to have the same effect at a distance of twelve and forty-eight hours. Bupivacaine shows a significantly higher number of complications, as already demonstrated by previous studies. The request for an analgesic was slightly higher in patients receiving levobupivacaine.
After considering all these elements, we can conclude that the clinical efficacy of levobupivacaine and racemic bupivacaine are essentially similar, when used under local intervention of inguinal hernioplasty.
PMCID: PMC3499198  PMID: 23173755
11.  Use of statins in lower extremity artery disease: a review 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S15.
Lower extremity artery disease (LE-PAD) is one of the most common manifestations of atherosclerosis, particularly in elderly patients, and it is related to a high cardiovascular risk.
It is well established that statin therapy is characterized by crucial benefits on cardiovascular system by limiting atherosclerotic progression and reducing cardiovascular events and mortality. A growing body of evidence support efficacy of statins in LE-PAD due to the ability of both reducing cardiovascular risk and improving walking distance and, hence, quality of life. Consequently, statin therapy should be considered in all LE-PAD patients and new LDL-cholesterol targets should be reached.
Our opinion is that statin therapy remains still underutilized or with inadequate dosage, so therapy of LE-PAD patients should be improved to obtain all the demonstrated benefits of statins.
PMCID: PMC3499199  PMID: 23173874
12.  Tunical plication in the management of penile curvature due La Peyronie’s disease. Our experience on 47 cases 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S25.
Peyronie’s disease is an acquired connective tissue disorder of the penile tunica albuginea with fibrosis and inflammation. The disease produces palpable plaques, penile curvature and pain during erections. Patients report negative effects in four major domains: physical appearance and self-image, sexual function and performance. These changes damage sexual life and compromise the quality of life. Our objective is to review the patient's sexual life after penile tunical plicature using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and the Sexual Encounter Profile (SEP) questionnaires.
A total of 47 patients with Peyronie's disease (PD) were enrolled at our urology department and they underwent correction of penile deviation between February 2009 and March 2010. Mean patient age was 56 years and mean follow-up was 24 months. Patients with painless PD plaque with no progression in angulation for at least 12 months were chosen for surgery. They underwent a penile tunical plication.
IIEF and SEP questionnaire were administered to all patients.
Of all treated patients, 94% were able to insert their penis in the partner's vagina (p<0.01; SEP question 2), compared with 62% preoperatively and 90% of them was satisfied overall with the sexual intercourse (p<0.01; SEP question 5) .Patients had a significantly higher endpoint and a greater change from baseline for the remaining SEP questions related to achievement of an erection, satisfaction of erection hardness (SEP questions 1 and 4; p < 0:001).
We reported a significant improvement in the IIEF scores (from a baseline total score of 25.2 +/- 3.2 to a final score of 38.3 +/- 5.2; P<0.01). It resulted in significantly higher endpoint IIEF scores across all five IIEF domains: Erectile Function, Intercourse Satisfaction, Orgasmic Function, Sexual Desire and Overall Satisfaction. The main complaint was penile shortening (28 patients, 60%), feeling of the suture during flaccidity and tumescence (37 patients, 80%).
Patient quality of life improved after surgery thanks to the improvement of their sexual life. The complications are unimportant and few bother symptoms are reported. The significant improvement in erectile function was also supported by IIEF and SEP questionnaire data. Nowadays tunical plication is a safe, advantageous and useful technique to treat patients suffering of Peyronie’s disease.
PMCID: PMC3499200  PMID: 23173735
13.  The role of atherectomy in the treatment of lower extremity peripheral artery disease 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S13.
The incidence of lower extremity peripheral artery disease (LE-PAD) continues to increase and associated morbidity remains high. Despite the significant development of percutaneous revascularization strategies, over the past decade, LE-PAD still represents a unique challenge for interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeons.
Typical features of atherosclerosis that affects peripheral vascular bed (diffuse nature, poor distal runoff, critical limb ischemia, chronic total occlusion) contribute to the disappointing results of traditional percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA). New technologies have been developed in attempt to improve the safety and effectiveness of percutaneous revascularization. Among these, atherectomy, debulking and removing atherosclerotic plaque, offers the potential advantage of eliminating stretch on arterial walls and reducing rates of restenosis.
This review summarizes the features and the current applications of new debulking devices.
PMCID: PMC3499201  PMID: 23173800
14.  Depression in older breast cancer survivors 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S14.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women .The 5-year survival rate for this tumour is nowadays 85%, and the 61% of these women are still alive at 15 years. When depression symptoms are present as a consequence of breast cancer treatments, they may interfere negatively with patients’ quality of life. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of breast cancer treatment on the quality of life and the impact of depression on the health-related life.
We enrolled 173 women aged 65-75 years with early stage breast cancer diagnosed over the last 10 years, initially recruited to participate in a study examining heath-related quality of life in the first 5 years after breast cancer diagnosis. Participants were divided into four groups: 1) 46 breast cancer survivors (aged 65-70); 2) 62 women diagnosed with breast cancer (aged 65-69); 3) 32 women with recurrent breast cancer after 10 years (aged 66-75); 4) 30 women in good health status (aged 60-70). The Geriatric Depression Scale was used as a routine part of a comprehensive geriatric assessment. Collection of data for the application of instruments, such as sociodemographic variables (age, educational level, social state) and clinical date (stage and time of the disease and treatment), was carried out by trained researcher assistants.
Our results demonstrated the correlation between depression and previous cancer experiences. In fact, in patients with cancer experience, the grade of depression was significantly higher compared to healthy subjects. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the patients with recurrent breast cancer were severely depressed compared to other groups.
A high percentage of participants were identified as having emotional and/or well being problems. Further investigations on the cause of depression problems cancer-related are needed.
PMCID: PMC3499203  PMID: 23173836
15.  Difficult colonoscopies in the propofol era 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S9.
To study the relationship between endoscopic practice and adverse events during colonoscopy under standard deep sedation induced and monitored by an anesthetist.
We investigated the routine activity of an endoscopy center at the Padova University teaching hospital. We considered not only endoscopic and cardiorespiratory complications, but also the need to use high-dose propofol to complete the procedure, and the inability to complete the procedure. Variables relating to the patient’s clinical conditions, bowel preparation, the endoscopist’s and the anesthetist’s experience, and the duration of the procedure were input in the model.
617 procedures under deep sedation were performed with a 5% rate of adverse events. The average dose of propofol used was 2.6±1.2 mg/kg. In all, 14 endoscopists and 42 anesthetists were involved in the procedures. The logistic regression analysis identified female gender (OR=2.3), having the colonoscopy performed by a less experienced endoscopist (OR=1.9), inadequate bowel preparation (OR=3.2) and a procedure lasting longer than 17.5 minutes (OR=1.6) as the main risk factors for complications. An ASA score of 2 carried a 50% risk reduction (OR=0.5).
Discussion and conclusions
Our model showed that none of the variables relating to anesthesiological issues influenced which procedures would prove difficult.
PMCID: PMC3499204  PMID: 23173918
16.  Observational study: daily treatment with a new compound “tradamixina” plus serenoa repens for two months improved the lower urinary tract symptoms 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S22.
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are associated with great emotional costs to individuals and substantial economic costs to society. This study seeks to evaluate the effect of a new natural compound “Tradamixina plus Serenoa Repens” in order to improve lower urinary tract symptoms.
100 patients (≥45years) who had had LUTS/BPH for >6 mo at screening and with IPSS -The international Prostate symptom scores- ≥13 and maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax) ≥4 to ≤15 ml/s. were recruited. The compound “Tradamixina plus Serenoa Repens” (80 mg of Alga Ecklonia Bicyclis, 100 mg of Tribulus Terrestris and 100 mg of D-Glucosamine and N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine plus 320 mg of Serenoa Repens) was administered daily for 2 months. At visit and after 60 days of treatment patients were evaluated by means of detailed medical urological history, clinical examination, laboratory investigations (total PSA), and instrumental examination like urolfowmetry. Efficacy measures included IPSS-International Prostate Sympto, BPH Impact Index (BII), Quality-of-Life (QoL) Index. Measures were assessed at baseline and end point (12 wk or end of therapy) and also at screening, 1 and 4 wk for IPSS, and 4 wk for BII. Statistical significance was interpreted only if the results of the preceding analysis were significant at the 0.05 level.
After 2 months of treatment the change from baseline to week 12 relative to “Tradamixina plus Seronea Repens” in total IPSS and Qol was statistically significant. Differences from baseline in BII were statistically significant for “Tradamixina plus Seronea Repens” above all differences in BII were also significant at 4 wk (LSmean ± SE: -0.8 ± 0.2). In the distribution of subjects over the PGI-I and CGI-I response categories were significant for”Tradamixina plus Seronea Repens” (PGI-I: p = 0.001; CGI-I). We also observed a decrease of total PSA.
The daily treatment with a new compound “Tradamixina plus Serenoa Repens” for 2 months improved the male sexual function , it improved the bother symptoms which affect the patient’s quality of life , improved uroflowmetric parameters, and we also observed a decrease of serum PSA level.
PMCID: PMC3499205  PMID: 23173650
17.  Elevated serum levels of Chromogranin A in hepatocellular carcinoma 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S7.
During the past three decades, the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States has tripled. The neuroendocrine character has been observed in some tumor cells within some hepatocellular carcinoma nodules and elevated serum chromogranin A also been reported in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. The aim of this work was to investigate the role of serum concentration of chromogranin A in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma at different stages.
The study population consisted of 96 patients (63 males and 33 females age range 52-84) at their first hospital admission for hepatocellular carcinoma. The control group consisted of 35 volunteers (20 males and 15 females age range 50-80). The hepatocellular carcinoma patients were stratified according the Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer classification. Venous blood samples were collected before treatment from each patients before surgery, centrifuged to obtain serum samples and stored at -80° C until assayed.
The chromogranin A serum levels were elevated (> 100 ng/ml) in 72/96 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. The serum levels of chromogranin A were significantly correlated (p<0.05) with alpha-fetoprotein. In comparison with controls, the hepatocellular carcinoma patients showed a significant increase (p<0.001) vs controls. The chromogranin A levels in the Barcelona staging of hepatocellular carcinoma was higher in stage D compared to stage C (p<0.01), to stage B (p<0.001), and to stage A (p<0.001).
Molecular markers, such as chromogranin A, could be very useful tools for hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosis. However the molecular classification should be incorporated into a staging scheme, which effectively separated patients into groups with homogeneous prognosis and response to treatment, and thus serves to aid in the selection of appropriate therapy.
PMCID: PMC3499206  PMID: 23173843
18.  GERD in elderly patients: surgical treatment with Nissen-Rossetti laparoscopic technique, outcome 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S4.
The gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most frequent disease of the upper gastro-entheric tract. Surgical treatment is reserved to selected patients, affected by severe forms of disease and/or without compliance to medical therapy.
In 95%-60% of the patients submitted to surgical antireflux intervention, a notable improvement of the quality of life is observed.
Functional evaluations performed on pre and post – surgical pHmetric and manometric examination have provided new acquisitions about improvements in the restoration of anatomical and functional integrity of the esophagus-gastric antireflux barrier.
45 elderly patients with GERD were recruited in a 27 months period. All patients were subjected to laparoscopic Nissen-Rossetti 360° fundoplication. The subjects had a pre-surgical evaluation with:
• 24 hours pHmetry,
• esophageal manometry,
The same evaluation was repeated 1 month and 6 months after surgical intervention.
In our series all patients get benefit from surgical treatment, with an improvement of pHmetric and manometric parameters and a regression of complications of GERD such as Barrett's metaplasia. In 8.33% of patients a PPI therapy was necessary, after the surgical intervention, to control symptoms.
The role of surgery in GERD concerns selected patients. Nissen-Rossetti mini-invasive approach is performed with an acceptable percentage of complications (3%-10%). This technique is associated with a good control of GERD symptoms in a short and middle term and with an improvement of functional parameters, such as pHmetric and manometric.
PMCID: PMC3499210  PMID: 23173751
19.  Sexual asthenia: Tradamixina versus Tadalafil 5 mg daily 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S23.
Reduced libido is widely considered the most prominent symptomatic reflection of low testosterone (T) levels in men. Testosterone deficiency (TD) afflicts approximately 30% of men aged 40-79 years. This study seeks to evaluate the effect of a new natural compound “tradamixina “in order to improve male sexual function in elderly men, particularly libido and possible erectile dysfunction, versus administration of tadalafil 5 mg daily.
Seventy patients (67.3± 3.7 years) with stable marital relations and affected by reduced libido, with or without erectile dysfunction were recruited. They were randomly separated in 2 groups A-B of 35. Group A was administered twice a day a new compound “Tradamixina” (150 mg of Alga Ecklonia Bicyclis, 396 mg of Tribulus Terrestris and 144 mg of D-Glucosamine and N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine) for two months, while Group B was administered tadalafil 5 mg daily, for two months. At visit and after 60 days of treatment patients were evaluated by means of detailed medical and sexual history, clinical examination, laboratory investigations (Total and Free T), instrumental examination (NPTR- nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity test- with Rigiscan). Patients completed a self-administered IIEF questionnaire (The international index of erectile function) and SQoLM questionnaire (Sexual quality of life Questionnarie-Male). The results pre and post treatment were compared by Student t test (p<0.005).
After 2 months of treatment in group A serum TT levels (230±18 ng/dl vs 671±14 ng/dl ) and FT levels(56± 2.4 pg/ml vs 120± 3.9pg/ml) increased, while in group B serum TT levels (245±12 ng/dl vs 247±15 ng/dl ) and FT levels(53± 0.3 pg/ml vs 55± 0.5pg/ml) increased not statistically significant. The patient’s numbers with negative NPTR improved after treatment in group A and B (15 vs 18 and 13 vs 25 respectively). The IIEF total score in group A increased after treatment with tradamixina (15±1.5 vs 29.77±1.2); the IIEF total score in group B increased slightly (12±1.3 vs 23.40±1.2). The SQoLM total score improved in both groups (A:16±2,3 vs 33±4,1 and B: 16±3,4 vs 31±2,1).
The treatment twice a day with “Tradamixina” for 2 months improved libido in elderly men without side effects of Tadalafil.
PMCID: PMC3499213  PMID: 23173697
Testosterone deficiency; libido; erectile dysfunction
20.  Abdominal aortic aneurysm in patients affected by intermittent claudication: prevalence and clinical predictors 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S17.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a frequent cause of death among elderly. Patients affected by lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (LE-PAD) seem to be particularly at high risk for AAA. We aimed this study at assessing the prevalence and the clinical predictors of the presence of AAA in a homogeneous cohort of LE-PAD patients affected by intermittent claudication.
We performed an abdominal ultrasound in 213 consecutive patients with documented LE-PAD (ankle/brachial index ≤0.90) attending our outpatient clinic for intermittent claudication. For each patient we registered cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities, and measured neutrophil count.
The ultrasound was inconclusive in 3 patients (1.4%), thus 210 patients (169 males, 41 females, mean age 65.9 ± 9.8 yr) entered the study. Overall, AAA was present in 19 patients (9.0%), with a not significant higher prevalence in men than in women (10.1% vs 4.9%, p = 0.300). Patients with AAA were older (71.2 ± 7.0 vs 65.4 ± 9.9 years, p = 0.015), were more likely to have hypertension (94.7% vs 71.2%, p = 0.027), and greater neutrophil count (5.5 [4.5 – 6.2] vs 4.1 [3.2 – 5.5] x103/μL, p = 0.010). Importantly, the c-statistic for neutrophil count (0.73, 95% CI 0.60 – 0.86, p =0.010) was higher than that for age (0.67, CI 0.56–0.78, p = 0.017). The prevalence of AAA in claudicant patients with a neutrophil count ≥ 5.1 x103/μL (cut-off identified at ROC analysis) was as high as 29.0%.
Prevalence of AAA in claudicant patients is much higher than that reported in the general population. Ultrasound screening should be considered in these patients, especially in those with an elevated neutrophil count.
PMCID: PMC3499243  PMID: 23173942
21.  Sutureless jejuno-jejunal anastomosis in gastric cancer patients: a comparison with handsewn procedure in a single institute 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S27.
The biofragmentable anastomotic ring has been used to this day for various types of anastomosis in the gastrointestinal tract, but it has not yet achieved widespread acceptance among surgeons. The purpose of this retrospective study is to compare surgical outcomes of sutureless with suture method of Roux-and-Y jejunojejunostomy in patients with gastric cancer.
Two groups of patients were obtained based on anastomosis technique (sutureless group versus hand sewn group): perioperative outcomes were recorded for every patient.
The mean time spent to complete a sutureless anastomosis was 11±4 min, whereas the time spent to perform hand sewn anastomosis was 23±7 min. Estimated intraoperative blood loss was 178±32ml in the sutureless group and 182±23ml in the suture-method group with no significant differences. No complications were registered related to enteroanastomosis. Intraoperative mortality was none for both groups.
The Biofragmentable Anastomotic Ring offers a safe and time-saving method for the jejuno-jejunal anastomosis in gastric cancer surgery, and for this purpose the ring has been approved as a standard method in our clinic. Nevertheless currently there are few studies on upper gastrointestinal sutureless anastomoses and this could be the reason for the low uptake of this device.
PMCID: PMC3499244  PMID: 23173807
22.  Electrochemotherapy of cutaneous metastastes from breast cancer in elderly patients: a preliminary report 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S6.
The management of cutaneous metastases often represents a challenge because they may be widespread and may recur after radiotherapy or chemotherapy; breast cancer accounts for 51% of the total cases of cutaneous metastases. When surgical excision of chest wall recurrences is not possible and other local treatments such as radiotherapy or radiotherapy with hyperthermia fail, topical chemotherapy and electrochemotherapy (ECT) might be taken into account.
ECT is a new local treatment of solid tumors which can be defined as the local potentiation, by means of permeabilizing electric pulses, of the antitumor activity of a non permeating anticancer drug with high intrinsic cytotoxicity.
This prospective observational study took place throughout March 2010 to October 2011. Twelve consecutive elderly patients (1 man and 11 women, median age of 76 years) with regional or distant skin or subcutaneous metastases from breast cancer, with or without visceral disease, were included in the study. Patient enrollment was carried out according to the ESOPE criteria. Bleomycin administration was followed by the application of brief electric pulses to each tumor nodule within 8 min after intravenous infusion of the drug. Electric currents were delivered by means of a 2–3 cm long needle electrode according to lesion size. All treatments were performed using the CliniporatorTM device.
We observed Complete Response(CR) in 75.3% (107 metastases), Partial Response(PR) in 17% (24 metastases), no change in 7.7% (11 metastases) . No serious ECT-related adverse events were reported; adverse events consisted of pain in the treated area one to two days after treatment (1 patient, 8.3%) and ulceration of treated area (1 patient, 8.3%).
ECT could be suggested as a primary local therapy in patients not suitable for surgical removal of the primary tumor, and clinicians should not hesitate to use it even in the elderly.
PMCID: PMC3499246  PMID: 23173816
23.  Local recurrence of gastric cancer after total gastrectomy: an unusual presentation 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S28.
A 71 years old Italian man had type 3 gastric cancer of the greater curvature. Total gastrectomy with splenectomy and D2 lymph node dissection were performed. After discharge chemotherapy ELF regimen was administred for 6 months. After 16 months from the operation a local recurrence was discovered by CT scan. Surgical en-bloc resection was performed removing pancreatic tail, splenic colic flexure and a portion of left diaphragm. Histological examination confirmed local recurrence of gastric adenocarcinoma infiltrating pancreas, colon and diaphragm with lymph node metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3499257  PMID: 23173846
24.  Quality of life and depression in a cohort of female patients with chronic disease 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S10.
Differences in health-related quality of life perception in patients with chronic disease may depend on pre-existing differences in personality profile. The purpose of the study was to investigate in a cohort of female patients with chronic diseases the relationship between the Quality of Life perception and the potential presence of depressive symptoms.
Patients and methods
Female patients with chronic diseases were enrolled in the study. Exclusion criteria were diagnosis of psychopathological condition, treatment with psychoactive substances.
Methodological approach was based on administration of the following test. Short Form health survey SF-36, Symptom Check List SCL-90-R, Satisfaction Profile test (SAT-P) and Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the relationship between depressive symptoms and Quality of life as assessed by psychometric test.
57 patients, aged 52(±3,4), responded to inclusion criteria. 57% of patients had a diagnosis of functional dyspepsia or gastro-oesophageal reflux not complicated, and the remaining 43% musculoskeletal diseases. The statistical analysis showed an inverse correlation between the variable Bodily Pain of the SF-36 and the variable Depression scales of the SCL-90-R.
In a second phase another sample of female patients was enrolled in the study. 64 patients, aged 49(±3,2), responded to inclusion criteria.
Another significant negative correlation was found between the Somatic-Affective factor of the BDI-II and the scale Physical Functioning of the SAT-P.
In female patients with chronic disease depressive symptoms resulted influenced by pain and vice versa. The treatment of depressive symptoms could improve the quality of life of patients.
PMCID: PMC3499261  PMID: 23173648
25.  Death after an accidental fall of a 101 year old hospitalized patient. Medico-legal implication of falling in geriatrics 
BMC Surgery  2012;12(Suppl 1):S34.
The case presented by the authors gives the opportunity to discuss the medico-legal issues related to lack of prevention of falls in elderly hospitalized patients.
Case presentation
A 101 year old Caucasian female was admitted to a surgery division for evaluation of abdominal pain of uncertain origin. During hospitalization, after bilateral bed rails were raised, she fell and reported a femoral fracture. Before surgical treatment of the fracture, scheduled for the day after injury, the patient reported a slight reduction in hemoglobin. She received blood transfusion but her general condition suddenly worsened; heart failure was observed and pulseless electrical activity was documented. The patient died 1 day after the fall. Patient relatives requested a judicial evaluation of the case.
The case was studied with a methodological approach based on the following steps: 1) examination of clinical records; 2) autopsy; 3) evaluation of clinicians’ behavior, in the light of necroscopic findings and a review of the literature.
The case shows that an accurate evaluation of clinical and environmental risk factors should be always performed at the moment of admission also in surgery divisions. A multidisciplinary approach is always recommended also with the involvement of the family members. In some cases, as in this one a fall of the patient is expectable but not always avoidable. Physical restraint use should be avoided when not necessary and used only if there are no practical alternatives.
PMCID: PMC3499262  PMID: 23173622

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