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Effects of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases on left ventricular structure and function: a study protocol

Ugo Cioffi1*, Michele M Ciulla2, Matilde De Simone1, Roberta Paliotti2, Alberto Pierini2, Fabio Magrini2, Fiorenzo Botti1 and Ettore Contessini-Avesani1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, University of Milan, Ospedale Maggiore di Milano – IRCCS, Via F Sforza, 35 – 20122 – Milano, Italy

2 Istituto di Clinica Medica Generale e Terapia Medica, Centro di Fisiologia Clinica e Ipertensione, University of Milan, Ospedale Maggiore di Milano – IRCCS, Via F Sforza, 35 – 20122 – Milano, Italy

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BMC Public Health 2002, 2:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-2-19

Published: 10 September 2002



Experimental evidences suggest an increased collagen deposition in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In particular, large amounts of collagen type I, III and V have been described and correlated to the development of intestinal fibrotic lesions. No information has been available until now about the possible increased collagen deposition far from the main target organ. In the hypothesis that chronic inflammation and increased collagen metabolism are reflected also in the systemic circulation, we aimed this study to evaluate the effects on left ventricular wall structure by assessing splancnic and systemic collagen metabolism (procollagen III assay), deposition (ultrasonic tissue characterization), and cardiac function (echocardiography) in patients with different long standing history of IBD, before and after surgery.


Thirty patients affected by active IBD, 15 with Crohn and 15 with Ulcerative Colitis, submitted to surgery will be enrolled in the study in a double blind fashion. They will be studied before the surgical operation and 6, 12 months after surgery. A control group of 15 healthy age and gender-matched subjects will also be studied. At each interval blood samples will be collected in order to assess the collagen metabolism; a transthoracic echocardiogram will be recorded for the subsequent determination of cardiac function and collagen deposition.


From this study protocol we expect additional information about the association between IBD and cardiovascular disorders; in particular to address the question if chronic inflammation, through the altered collagen metabolism, could affect left ventricular structure and function in a manner directly related to the estimated duration of the disease.