The memory of the Professor  Frank Cecchi

Unfortunately, Dr. Davide Antoniucci left us due to an incurable disease a few days ago. A dear friend and colleague, he was the Director of the department of Cardiology at the Careggi Hospital for over two decades and it is thanks to him in particular and to his colleagues at the Careggi-Florence hospital that they began the immediate treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction with coronary angiography and angioplasty with recanalization of the occluded vessel, which it limited the damage of the heart attack and improved the life and survival of many patients. His technique was learned from Italian and international cardiologists and is now common practice throughout the world.

With him we have shared the hospital care of patients with Cardiomyopathy for over 20 years, both for the treatment of heart failure and arrhythmias. At the end of the 90s, in patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, some Swiss and German colleagues published good results obtained with the injection of a small dose of alcohol (ethanol) into the septal artery supplying the hypertrophic zone, causing a myocardial infarction and then the reduction of the wall thickness.

The technique was called “septal alcoholism” and allowed the obstruction to be resolved and the gradient to be reduced or abolished, without having to resort to “myectomy” cardiac surgery. It was an apparently simple technique, it avoided opening the chest, and for this reason it quickly spread to numerous countries. In 1999, with the assistance of one of these, Dr. Seggewiss, together with Davide Antoniucci we began to treat our first three patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with septal alcoholization, apparently with good results. Over 70 patients were treated in the following years with this technique, which later proved to be not so simple and not without some serious complications, also with excellent initial results. However, the analysis of the results after one or two years did not confirm these initial results in approximately half of the patients treated, who presented recurrences of the obstruction and various complications. Consequently, it was decided together to limit the indication for septal alcoholization only to patients over 60 years of age with high surgical risk. And, with the help of Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, one of the most famous cardiac surgeons in the world, and with Pierluigi Stefano, Director of Cardiac Surgery in Careggi-Florence, in Florence they began to operate with "myectomy and mitral plastic" on patients with Obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, with excellent and definitive long-term results.

Davide, a man of great scientific and humanistic culture, fundamentally "good", even if sometimes "abrupt" in his approach and communication with colleagues, as well as a great friend, was an excellent cardiologist, ready to accept innovation, but also to evaluate the effectiveness and risks of the interventions carried out. We will miss him. But what remains of him is a fundamental teaching of dedication to patients, their needs and to the public health service, of scientifically documented research for innovation.