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Stress-Induced Cardiomyopathy

Boland, Torrey A. MD1; Lee, Vivien H. MD1; Bleck, Thomas P. MD, MCCM1,2,3,4

doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000000851
Concise Definitive Review

Objectives: Reversible stress-induced cardiac dysfunction is frequently seen as a complication of a multitude of acute stress states, in particular neurologic injuries. This dysfunction may be difficult to distinguish between that caused by myocardial ischemia and may impact both the treatment strategies and prognosis of the underlying condition. Critical care practitioners should have an understanding of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical characteristics, precipitating conditions, differential diagnosis, and proposed treatments for stress-induced cardiomyopathy.

Data Sources: MEDLINE database search conducted from inception to August 2014, including the search terms “tako-tsubo,” “stress-induced cardiomyopathy,” “neurogenic cardiomyopathy,” “neurogenic stress cardiomyopathy,” and “transient left ventricular apical ballooning syndrome”. In addition, references from pertinent articles were used for a secondary search.

Study Selection and Data Extraction: After review of peer-reviewed original scientific articles, guidelines, and reviews resulting from the literature search described above, we made final selections for included references and data based on relevance and author consensus.

Data Synthesis: Stress-induced cardiomyopathy occurs most commonly in postmenopausal women. It can be precipitated by emotional stress, neurologic injury, and numerous other stress states. Patients may present with symptoms indistinguishable from acute coronary syndrome or with electrocardiogram changes and wall motion abnormalities on echocardiogram following neurologic injury. Nearly all patients will have an elevated cardiac troponin. The underlying etiology is likely related to release of catecholamines, both locally in the myocardium and in the circulation. Differential diagnosis includes myocardial infarction, myocarditis, neurogenic pulmonary edema, and nonischemic cardiomyopathy. Although the natural course of stress-induced cardiomyopathy is resolution, treatment strategies include sympathetic blockade and supportive care.

Conclusions: Stress-induced cardiomyopathy may mimic myocardial infarction and is an important condition to recognize in patients with underlying stress states, particularly neurologic injuries.

1Department of Neurologic Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

2Department of Neurosurgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

3Department of Anesthesiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

4Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

The authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

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