Careggi University Hospital - Florence

Florence assistance

The Careggi AOC aims to meet the needs of the most complex patients, produce advanced clinical research related to basic sciences, and transfer the skills acquired in teaching.

With this in mind, in 2015 the Cardiomyopathies Unit, (previously Regional Reference Center for Cardiomyopathies), a reference point in Italy, directed by Prof. Iacopo Olivotto, based on a work carried out for over 40 years, started and developed by Prof. Franco Cecchi and from Dr. Alberto Dolara, later flanked by Dr. Olivotto himself.

La Unit Cardiomyopathies aims to provide adequate care responses to patients with genetically based cardiomyopathies (hypertrophic, dilated, arrhythmogenic, restrictive and non-compact left ventricle, cardiac amyloidosis, Fabry's disease, syndromes) and, more generally, to other heart muscle diseases for example, toxic, infectious, chemotherapy, autoimmune, etc. The need for greater attention to these patients is increasingly felt in a cardiological world in which the offer is dominated by treatments aimed at atherosclerotic coronary heart disease and hypertension, while it appears lacking towards other heart diseases, wrongly considered rare. . In fact, cardiomyopathies as a whole are not uncommon. For the hypertrophic form, it is estimated in Italy at least 100.000 patients, mostly undiagnosed or with wrong diagnoses (hypertensive heart disease, athlete's heart, aortic stenosis); for the dilated form, the expected numbers are similar. To this data, already relevant, must be added more rare forms such as Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy, among the most frequent causes of sudden juvenile death, or Cardiac Amyloidosis, a frequent cause of heart failure in the elderly. Patients with cardiomyopathies often arrive late at diagnosis, have seen many doctors, received different and often conflicting opinions, and often incorrect classification or inadequate treatment. In fact, to the genetic problems are added increasingly frequent pathologies, such as secondary cardiomyopathies from chemo or radiotherapy, and the new forms present in African migrants, such as endomyocardial fibrosis or Latin Americans, such as Chagas disease.

The assistance activity carried out by Unit Cardiomyopathies it is predominantly of the outpatient type. To this is associated a constant consultancy activity at the departments of the AOU Careggi, and in particular for assistance in pregnancy and childbirth.

  • Specialist outpatient clinics for the diagnosis and therapy of patients with the various forms of cardiomyopathy
  • Consulting activity at the Pediatric Cardiology of the Meyer Hospital for pediatric patients and with metabolic / mitochondrial or syndromic pathologies (eg S. di Noonan, Costello)
  • Assistance activity within multidisciplinary groups dedicated to rare diseases: in particular, a group of international importance is active on Fabry's disease and on cardiac amyloidosis; patients with cystic fibrosis, Chagas disease, vasculitis, alcohol abuse are also followed up.
  • Assistance activity with other working groups in Careggi for special exams (exercise ECO, cardiopulmonary test, genetic analysis)

Clinical data of over are currently collected in the Unit's databases 5000 patients, of which about half come from outside the province or outside the region. Most of the patients have been followed for many years, and some even over 30 years. In addition to the direct assistance activity, a remote service has been added to both patients and referring doctors, which has been forcibly strengthened in recent months due to the pandemic.

Utilization of funds received through donations or funding for research projects.

To ensure excellence in the care and assistance of patients with Cardiomyopathies, donations and research funds have been collected for over 40 years, through which the purchase or rental of instruments (e.g. Holter recorders, ECOcardiografi, etc) as well as dozens of scholarships to doctors, nurses, psychologists and other professionals, whose work has been instrumental in carrying out research and assistance, with that added value that patients expect to find in a reference center. An example of the use of funding is the Genetic Research, begun in 1999, for which Dr. Francesca Girolami, geneticist biologist, was guaranteed annual contracts for 7 years before being hired with a public competition. projects financed by the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Foundation.