Posts Tagged ‘stress cardiomyopathy’

Stress related wall motion defect  is a well-known entity . It is referred to as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy .

These stress are often

  • Emotional
  • Neurological
  • General systemic stress

The culprit seems to be pooling of adrenaline and nor adrenaline in myocardium .These remote  neurogenic stress can cause significant wall motion defect due to adrenergic  downpour

The image depicts the wide variation in the density of beta receptors in heart.The stress of MI can result in varying degrees of wall motion defect .It is important to realise the wall motion defect in STEMI has two components .One is related to ischemia and other is due to excess catecholamines. This explains many of the unexplained remote wall motion defects during STEMI .This  may be referred to as Intrinsic Takosubo effect !

Then   . . . the following    questions arise

When systemic stress can have a profound  effect on myocardium , what   about local stress ?

Acute STEMI  is  a huge stress for the heart   . . .   isn’t  . If  so , can it   alter  the wall motion defect in adjacent  or remote myocardial segments  independent of ischemia ?

With the distribution  of adrenergic receptors  showing  huge variation ,  we do not know how an acutely ischemic heart  spills the adrenaline all over .  Is there a pattern to it  ?  or it happens at random ?  Further , the  response to  accumulated  catecholamines  is  not  going to be  uniform. This will explain why certain patients  go into ischemic  LVF  , very early in the course of STEMI  even before the myocardium is necrosed. It will  also explain  the  benefits that accrue in selected patients  who receive early IV beta  blockade  ( Which is  of course currently not popular after COMET study ! )

Final message

We  have seen at least  two patients  with severe  transient ballooning  wall  motion defect in LAD region  (LV apex)  with isolated RCA lesion and inferior Infarct .

The question raised is this 

Can  the  stress of  Inferior  STEMI   . . . result in  apical Takatsubo  like  effect ?




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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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