Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a heart condition in which there is a sudden temporary weakening of the myocardium, which is the muscle of the heart, triggered by emotional stress. Since the stressful situations that cause Takotsubo cardiomyopathy usually arise from the death of a loved one, or constant rejection, the condition is also known as broken heart syndrome. People with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy may have sudden chest pain or think they are having a heart attack. These broken heart syndrome symptoms may be brought on by the heart's reaction to a surge of stress hormones. In Takotsubo cardiomyopathy there is an enlargement or bulging out of the left ventricular apex, which is known as left ventricular (LV) apical ballooning.

In Japanese, “tako-tsubo” means “fishing pot for trapping octopus,” because the LV of a patient diagnosed with this condition resembles that shape. A transient entity typically precipitated by acute emotional stress, takotsubo cardiomyopathy is also called “stress cardiomyopathy. The shape that the left ventricle takes (tako-tsubo shape) is due to a state of complete exhaustion of the heart muscle (myocardial stunning) in the mid-section and tip of the heart. The fascinating part is that it occurs in patients without significant blockage (stenosis) of their coronary arteries. The symptoms of broken heart syndrome are treatable, and the condition usually reverses itself in about a week.