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Alessandro Pezzini - Top 30 Publications

Arterial tortuosity in patients with spontaneous cervical artery dissection.

The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that patients with spontaneous cervical artery dissection (CeAD) have increased arterial tortuosity, and the objective quantification of such a tortuosity may aid in the identification of subjects at increased risk of disease.

Genetic Imbalance in Patients with Cervical Artery Dissection.

Genetic and environmental risk factors are assumed to contribute to the susceptibility to cervical artery dissection (CeAD). To explore the role of genetic imbalance in the etiology of CeAD, copy number variants (CNVs) were identified in high-density microarrays samples from the multicenter CADISP (Cervical Artery Dissection and Ischemic Stroke Patients) study and from control subjects from the CADISP study and the German PopGen biobank. Microarray data from 833 CeAD patients and 2040 control subjects (565 subjects with ischemic stroke due to causes different from CeAD and 1475 disease-free individuals) were analyzed. Rare genic CNVs were equally frequent in CeAD-patients (16.4%; n=137) and in control subjects (17.0%; n=346) but differed with respect to their genetic content. Compared to control subjects, CNVs from CeAD patients were enriched for genes associated with muscle organ development and cell differentiation, which suggests a possible association with arterial development. CNVs affecting cardiovascular system development were more common in CeAD patients than in control subjects (p=0.003; odds ratio (OR) =2.5; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) =1.4-4.5) and more common in patients with a familial history of CeAD than in those with sporadic CeAD (p=0.036; OR=11.2; 95% CI=1.2-107).

Association Between Migraine and Cervical Artery Dissection: The Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults.

Although sparse observational studies have suggested a link between migraine and cervical artery dissection (CEAD), any association between the 2 disorders is still unconfirmed. This lack of a definitive conclusion might have implications in understanding the pathogenesis of both conditions and the complex relationship between migraine and ischemic stroke (IS).

Cervical artery dissection in patients ≥60 years: Often painless, few mechanical triggers.

In a cohort of patients diagnosed with cervical artery dissection (CeAD), to determine the proportion of patients aged ≥60 years and compare the frequency of characteristics (presenting symptoms, risk factors, and outcome) in patients aged <60 vs ≥60 years.

Prestroke CHA2DS2-VASc Score and Severity of Acute Stroke in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: Findings from RAF Study.

The aim of this study was to investigate for a possible association between both prestroke CHA2DS2-VASc score and the severity of stroke at presentation, as well as disability and mortality at 90 days, in patients with acute stroke and atrial fibrillation (AF).

Prediction of Early Recurrent Thromboembolic Event and Major Bleeding in Patients With Acute Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation by a Risk Stratification Schema: The ALESSA Score Study.

This study was designed to derive and validate a score to predict early ischemic events and major bleedings after an acute ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Sex Differences and Functional Outcome After Intravenous Thrombolysis.

Women have a worse outcome after stroke compared with men, although in intravenous thrombolysis (IVT)-treated patients, women seem to benefit more. Besides sex differences, age has also a possible effect on functional outcome. The interaction of sex on the functional outcome in IVT-treated patients in relation to age remains complex. The purpose of this study was to compare outcome after IVT between women and men with regard to age in a large multicenter European cohort reflecting daily clinical practice of acute stroke care.

Leukoaraiosis is a predictor of futile recanalization in acute ischemic stroke.

Futile recanalization occurs when successful recanalization fails to improve clinical outcome in acute ischemic stroke patients. Predictors of futile recanalization are still debated and may help in selecting patients for reperfusion strategies. We aim to determine whether leukoaraiosis may be useful in predicting futile recanalization in acute ischemic stroke patients treated by endovascular mechanical thrombectomy. We included in the analysis patients with acute ischemic stroke due to anterior circulation large vessel occlusion undergoing endovascular mechanical thrombectomy obtaining complete vessel recanalization. Demographics, vascular risk factors, baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, time from symptoms onset to recanalization, Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score, and leukoaraiosis graded on a 4-point van Swieten scale were collected. We dichotomized patients into those with moderate-severe leukoaraiosis (2-4) versus those with absent-slight leukoaraiosis (0, 1). Outcome measures were symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, and modified Rankin scale score at 90 days. The relationships among radiological parameters and clinical data with outcome measures were studied with univariate and multivariable analyses. Sixty-eight patients were identified. Recanalization was futile in 32.4% of cases. On multivariable logistic regression analysis, the presence of moderate-severe LA was independent predictors of FR (P = 0.01). Furthermore, higher NIHSS score at baseline (P < 0.01) end endovascular mechanical thrombectomy alone treatment (P < 0.01) resulted associated with futile recanalization. Our results showed that the presence of moderate-severe leukoaraiosis is associated with poor outcome in recanalized patients.

Towards the genetic basis of cerebral venous thrombosis-the BEAST Consortium: a study protocol.

Cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is a rare cerebrovascular condition accounting for <1% of all stroke cases and mainly affects young adults. Its genetic aetiology is not clearly elucidated.

Genetic variants in CETP increase risk of intracerebral hemorrhage.

In observational epidemiologic studies, higher plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) has been associated with increased risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). DNA sequence variants that decrease cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene activity increase plasma HDL-C; as such, medicines that inhibit CETP and raise HDL-C are in clinical development. Here, we test the hypothesis that CETP DNA sequence variants associated with higher HDL-C also increase risk for ICH.

Propensity Score-Based Analysis of Percutaneous Closure Versus Medical Therapy in Patients With Cryptogenic Stroke and Patent Foramen Ovale: The IPSYS Registry (Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults).

We sought to compare the benefit of percutaneous closure to that of medical therapy alone for the secondary prevention of embolism in patients with patent foramen ovale (PFO) and otherwise unexplained ischemic stroke, in a propensity scored study.

Risk Profile of Symptomatic Lacunar Stroke Versus Nonlobar Intracerebral Hemorrhage.

Although lacunar stroke (LS) and deep intracerebral hemorrhage (dICH) represent acute manifestations of the same pathological process involving cerebral small vessels (small vessel disease), it remains unclear what factors predispose to one phenotype rather than the other at individual level.

PPM1A Methylation Is Associated With Vascular Recurrence in Aspirin-Treated Patients.

Despite great efforts by pharmacogenetic studies, the causes of aspirin failure to prevent the recurrence of ischemic events remain unclear. Our aim was to study whether epigenetics could be associated with the risk of vascular recurrence in aspirin-treated stroke patients.

Infective Endocarditis Presenting with Intracranial Bleeding.

Infective endocarditis (IE) can be complicated by intracranial bleeding (ICB) caused by different pathologic mechanisms. The occurrence of ICB in patients with IE significantly influences therapeutic decisions and has a negative impact on outcome.

Leukocyte Count and Intracerebral Hemorrhage Expansion.

Acute leukocytosis is a well-established response to intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Leukocytes, because of their interaction with platelets and coagulation factors, may in turn play a role in hemostasis. We investigated whether admission leukocytosis was associated with reduced bleeding after acute ICH.

TRAF3 Epigenetic Regulation Is Associated With Vascular Recurrence in Patients With Ischemic Stroke.

Clopidogrel is one of the most used antiplatelet drugs in patients with cardiovascular disease. However, 16% to 50% of patients have a high on-clopidogrel platelet reactivity and an increased risk of ischemic events. The pathogenesis of high on-treatment platelet reactivity in patients with stroke is only partially explained by genetic variations. This study aims to find differentially methylated sites across the genome associated with vascular recurrence in ischemic stroke patients treated with clopidogrel.

Serum cholesterol levels, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage. The Multicenter Study on Cerebral Haemorrhage in Italy (MUCH-Italy).

Although a concern exists that 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) might increase the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH), the contribution of these agents to the relationship between serum cholesterol and disease occurrence has been poorly investigated.

Intravenous Thrombolysis in Patients Dependent on the Daily Help of Others Before Stroke.

We compared outcome and complications in patients with stroke treated with intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) who could not live alone without help of another person before stroke (dependent patients) versus independent ones.

Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Young-Onset Stroke Identifies a Locus on Chromosome 10q25 Near HABP2.

Although a genetic contribution to ischemic stroke is well recognized, only a handful of stroke loci have been identified by large-scale genetic association studies to date. Hypothesizing that genetic effects might be stronger for early- versus late-onset stroke, we conducted a 2-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies, focusing on stroke cases with an age of onset <60 years.

Prognostic value of trans-thoracic echocardiography in patients with acute stroke and atrial fibrillation: findings from the RAF study.

Anticoagulant therapy is recommended for the secondary prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). T he identification of patients at high risk for early recurrence, which are potential candidates to prompt anticoagulation, is crucial to justify the risk of bleeding associated with early anticoagulant treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate in patients with acute ischemic stroke and AF the association between findings at trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE) and 90 days recurrence. In consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke and AF, TTE was performed within 7 days from hospital admission. Study outcomes were recurrent ischemic cerebrovascular events (stroke or TIA) and systemic embolism. 854 patients (mean age 76.3 ± 9.5 years) underwent a TTE evaluation; 63 patients (7.4%) had at least a study outcome event. Left atrial thrombosis was present in 11 patients (1.3%) among whom 1 had recurrent ischemic event. Left atrial enlargement was present in 548 patients (64.2%) among whom 51 (9.3%) had recurrent ischemic events. The recurrence rate in the 197 patients with severe left atrial enlargement was 11.7%. On multivariate analysis, the presence of atrial enlargement (OR 2.13; 95% CI 1.06-4.29, p = 0.033) and CHA2DS2-VASc score (OR 1.22; 95% CI 1.04-1.45, p = 0.018, for each point increase) were correlated with ischemic recurrences. In patients with AF-associated acute stroke, left atrial enlargement is an independent marker of recurrent stroke and systemic embolism. The risk of recurrence is accounted for by severe atrial enlargement. TTE-detected left atrial thrombosis is relatively uncommon.

Recanalization therapies in acute ischemic stroke patients: impact of prior treatment with novel oral anticoagulants on bleeding complications and outcome.

We explored the safety of intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) or intra-arterial treatment (IAT) in patients with ischemic stroke on non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs, last intake <48 hours) in comparison with patients (1) taking vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) or (2) without previous anticoagulation (no-OAC).

Early Recurrence and Cerebral Bleeding in Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation: Effect of Anticoagulation and Its Timing: The RAF Study.

The best time for administering anticoagulation therapy in acute cardioembolic stroke remains unclear. This prospective cohort study of patients with acute stroke and atrial fibrillation, evaluated (1) the risk of recurrent ischemic event and severe bleeding; (2) the risk factors for recurrence and bleeding; and (3) the risks of recurrence and bleeding associated with anticoagulant therapy and its starting time after the acute stroke.

Epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of intracranial artery dissection.

Spontaneous intracranial artery dissection is an uncommon and probably underdiagnosed cause of stroke that is defined by the occurrence of a haematoma in the wall of an intracranial artery. Patients can present with headache, ischaemic stroke, subarachnoid haemorrhage, or symptoms associated with mass effect, mostly on the brainstem. Although intracranial artery dissection is less common than cervical artery dissection in adults of European ethnic origin, intracranial artery dissection is reportedly more common in children and in Asian populations. Risk factors and mechanisms are poorly understood, and diagnosis is challenging because characteristic imaging features can be difficult to detect in view of the small size of intracranial arteries. Therefore, multimodal follow-up imaging is often needed to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment of intracranial artery dissections is empirical in the absence of data from randomised controlled trials. Most patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage undergo surgical or endovascular treatment to prevent rebleeding, whereas patients with intracranial artery dissection and cerebral ischaemia are treated with antithrombotics. Prognosis seems worse in patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage than in those without.

Cervical Artery Dissection (CeAD) in physicians.

Intravenous thrombolysis or endovascular therapy for acute ischemic stroke associated with cervical internal carotid artery occlusion: the ICARO-3 study.

The aim of the ICARO-3 study was to evaluate whether intra-arterial treatment, compared to intravenous thrombolysis, increases the rate of favourable functional outcome at 3 months in acute ischemic stroke and extracranial ICA occlusion. ICARO-3 was a non-randomized therapeutic trial that performed a non-blind assessment of outcomes using retrospective data collected prospectively from 37 centres in 7 countries. Patients treated with endovascular treatment within 6 h from stroke onset (cases) were matched with patients treated with intravenous thrombolysis within 4.5 h from symptom onset (controls). Patients receiving either intravenous or endovascular therapy were included among the cases. The efficacy outcome was disability at 90 days assessed by the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), dichotomized as favourable (score of 0-2) or unfavourable (score of 3-6). Safety outcomes were death and any intracranial bleeding. Included in the analysis were 324 cases and 324 controls: 105 cases (32.4 %) had a favourable outcome as compared with 89 controls (27.4 %) [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.25, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.88-1.79, p = 0.1]. In the adjusted analysis, treatment with intra-arterial procedures was significantly associated with a reduction of mortality (OR 0.61, 95 % CI 0.40-0.93, p = 0.022). The rates of patients with severe disability or death (mRS 5-6) were similar in cases and controls (30.5 versus 32.4 %, p = 0.67). For the ordinal analysis, adjusted for age, sex, NIHSS, presence of diabetes mellitus and atrial fibrillation, the common odds ratio was 1.15 (95 % IC 0.86-1.54), p = 0.33. There were more cases of intracranial bleeding (37.0 versus 17.3 %, p = 0.0001) in the intra-arterial procedure group than in the intravenous group. After the exclusion of the 135 cases treated with the combination of I.V. thrombolysis and I.A. procedures, 67/189 of those treated with I.A. procedures (35.3 %) had a favourable outcome, compared to 89/324 of those treated with I.V. thrombolysis (27.4 %) (adjusted OR 1.75, 95 % CI 1.00-3.03, p = 0.05). Endovascular treatment of patients with acute ICA occlusion did not result in a better functional outcome than treatment with intravenous thrombolysis, but was associated with a higher rate of intracranial bleeding. Overall mortality was significantly reduced in patients treated with endovascular treatment but the rates of patients with severe disability or death were similar. When excluding all patients treated with the combination of I.V. thrombolysis and I.A. procedures, a potential benefit of I.A. treatment alone compared to I.V. thrombolysis was observed.

Common variation in PHACTR1 is associated with susceptibility to cervical artery dissection.

Cervical artery dissection (CeAD), a mural hematoma in a carotid or vertebral artery, is a major cause of ischemic stroke in young adults although relatively uncommon in the general population (incidence of 2.6/100,000 per year). Minor cervical traumas, infection, migraine and hypertension are putative risk factors, and inverse associations with obesity and hypercholesterolemia are described. No confirmed genetic susceptibility factors have been identified using candidate gene approaches. We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in 1,393 CeAD cases and 14,416 controls. The rs9349379[G] allele (PHACTR1) was associated with lower CeAD risk (odds ratio (OR) = 0.75, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.69-0.82; P = 4.46 × 10(-10)), with confirmation in independent follow-up samples (659 CeAD cases and 2,648 controls; P = 3.91 × 10(-3); combined P = 1.00 × 10(-11)). The rs9349379[G] allele was previously shown to be associated with lower risk of migraine and increased risk of myocardial infarction. Deciphering the mechanisms underlying this pleiotropy might provide important information on the biological underpinnings of these disabling conditions.

Determinants of premature familial arterial thrombosis in patients with juvenile ischaemic stroke. The Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults (IPSYS).

Factors predicting family history (FH) of premature arterial thrombosis in young patients with ischaemic stroke (IS) have not been extensively investigated, and whether they might influence the risk of post-stroke recurrence is still unknown. In the present study we analysed 1,881 consecutive first-ever IS patients aged 18-45 years recruited from January 2000 to January 2012 as part of the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults (IPSYS). FH of premature arterial thrombosis was any thrombotic event [IS, myocardial infarction or other arterial events event] < 45 years in proband's first-degree relatives. Compared with patients without FH of premature arterial thrombosis, those with FH (n = 85) were more often smokers (odds ratio [OR], 1.94; 95 % confidence interval [CI], 1.21-3.09) and carriers of procoagulant abnormalities (OR, 3.66; 95 % CI, 2.21-6.06). Smoking (OR, 2.48; 95 % CI, 1.20-5.15), the A1691 mutation in factor V gene (OR, 3.64; 95 % CI, 1.31-10.10), and the A20210 mutation in the prothrombin gene (OR, 8.40; 95 % CI 3.35-21.05) were associated with FH of premature stroke (n = 33), while circulating anti-phospholipids to FH of premature myocardial infarction (n = 45; OR, 3.48; 95 % CI, 1.61-7.51). Mean follow-up time was 46.6 ± 38.6 months. Recurrent events occurred more frequently in the subgroup of patients with FH of premature stroke [19.4 %); p = 0.051] compared to patients without such a FH. In conclusion, young IS patients with FH of premature arterial thrombosis exhibit a distinct risk-factor profile, an underlying procoagulant state and have worse vascular prognosis than those with no FH of juvenile thrombotic events.

Percheron artery occlusion: an uncommon cause of decreased arousal.

Familial occurrence and heritable connective tissue disorders in cervical artery dissection.

In a large series of patients with cervical artery dissection (CeAD), a major cause of ischemic stroke in young and middle-aged adults, we aimed to examine frequencies and correlates of family history of CeAD and of inherited connective tissue disorders.

Connective tissue anomalies in patients with spontaneous cervical artery dissection.

To investigate the prevalence of connective tissue abnormalities in patients with spontaneous cervical artery dissections (sCeAD).