Posts Tagged ‘apical ballooning’

The entity of stress cardiomyopathy ,  other wise referred to as  Takotsubo  cardiomyopathy is a popular clinical entity in recent decades.The heart and mind are closely linked entities even though they are  situated apart physically . Extensive neural and hormonal control  mechanisms  exist.

In extreme stress ,the hyper- sympathetic  drive triggers a rush of adrenaline ,  which some how makes the  left ventricle  to bulge out !

The clinical features  are varied .

  • It can exactly mimic an acute coronary syndrome .
  • ECG may  show ST elevation and mimic an anterior STEMI
  • Echo shows a wall motion abnormality  classically  described  as the apex alone dilates /Bulges or elongates
  • LV  may acquire a shape of a  banana. (See below )

A 45 year old man came to the ER with severe chest pain , dyspnea and minimal ST elevation in anterior leads. He  was a smoker and was experiencing  recent major office stress  . Echo showed an elongated LV apex with some thinning .We made a diagnosis of stress cardiomyopathy .( It was disputed by my professor as the LV  apex was contracting well   ! but we  learnt later there are many varieties of Takatsubo )

Echo showed an elongated LV apex with some thinning . Note the LV apex goes  out of plane  with RV apex.

Color  Doppler revealed Trivial Mitral regurgitation

Follow up

He underwent coronary angiogram.  Had  no significant lesions ,   in 48 hours time the wall motion defect disappeared and was discharged with beta blockers.


Up to 2 % of ACS could be related to Takatsubo . More common in women especially post menopausal  , with stressful/emotional background like loss of loved ones.


Apical ballooning , Broken heart syndrome ,  Stress cardiomyopathy.


Not clear . Microvascular spasm , excessive catecholamines  ,  are thought to be major culprits.


Hyperkinetic base and akinetic or dyskinetic LV apex .

Lots of variations are reported .

Shimizu described 4 types

Courtesy : Shimizu et al J Cardiol. 2006 Jan;47(1):31-7.

  1. Apical akinesia and basal hyperkinesia,
  2. Reverse  Takotsubo  (Basal akinesia and apical hyperkinesia)
  3. Mid-ventricular ballooning   with  basal and apical hyperkinesia
  4. Localised  to any one segment

*The Banana type which  is described here (Elongation  of LV apex > Widening )


Focal myocytolysis are described. (Broken heart)   Monocytic infiltrations are common.These are  believed  to be transient .

How to differentiate it between a STEMI ?

  • Enzymes are only mildly elevated.
  • Wall motion defect do not confine to a specific arterial territory.
  • Most importantly coronary angiogram do not reveal any significant obstructions.

Prognosis and outcome

  • Generally good
  • The initial presentation may be turbulent in few with cardiac failure or arrhythmia .Other wise these patients do well


  • Mainly supportive
  • Major principle is to avoid inotropic agents as they  are already  heavily expose to it
  • Beta blockers  could be the mainstay therapy .

Final messge

Think about  Takatsubo  whenever an acute coronary syndrome presents atypically . Not surprisingly few of them land in the cath lab !



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