JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Apical ballooning syndrome (Tako-Tsubo or stress cardiomyopathy): a mimic of acute myocardial infarction

Abhiram Prasad, Amir Lerman, Charanjit S Rihal
American Heart Journal 2008, 155 (3): 408-17
18294473
Apical ballooning syndrome (ABS) is a unique reversible cardiomyopathy that is frequently precipitated by a stressful event and has a clinical presentation that is indistinguishable from a myocardial infarction. We review the best evidence regarding the pathophysiology, clinical features, investigation, and management of ABS. The incidence of ABS is estimated to be 1% to 2% of patients presenting with an acute myocardial infarction. The pathophysiology remains unknown, but catecholamine mediated myocardial stunning is the most favored explanation. Chest pain and dyspnea are the typical presenting symptoms. Transient ST elevation may be present on the electrocardiogram, and a small rise in cardiac troponin T is invariable. Typically, there is hypokinesis or akinesis of the mid and apical segments of the left ventricle with sparing of the basal systolic function without obstructive coronary lesions. Supportive treatment leads to spontaneous rapid recovery in nearly all patients. The prognosis is excellent, and a recurrence occurs in <10% of patients. Apical ballooning syndrome should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients with an apparent acute coronary syndrome with left ventricular regional wall motion abnormality and absence of obstructive coronary artery disease, especially in the setting of a stressful trigger.

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