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Clinical implications of midventricular obstruction and intravenous propranolol use in transient left ventricular apical ballooning (Tako-tsubo cardiomyopathy).

BACKGROUND: Persistent hypotension with dynamic midventricular obstruction (MVO) in patients with transient left ventricular (LV) apical ballooning (Tako-tsubo cardiomyopathy) is an important complication that needs to be treated.

PURPOSE: The objective of this study is to determine the effects of intravenous propranolol challenge on MVO in transient LV apical ballooning.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Thirty-four patients (12 males, 22 females, mean age 64 +/- 17 years, age range 22-84 years) with LV apical ballooning were enrolled. The hemodynamic and echocardiographic effects of propranolol (0.05 mg/kg, maximum 4 mg) were analyzed in 13 patients.

RESULTS: (1) Midventricular obstruction was present in 8 (24%) of 34 patients, and the pressure gradient (PG) ranged from 28 to 140 mm Hg. (2) Patients with MVO had similar demographic and clinical characteristics (symptoms, peak creatine kinase, plasma catecholamine levels) as those without MVO; however, in patients with MVO, abnormal Q waves on electrocardiogram and hypotension were more prevalent. (3) In the MVO group, intravenous propranolol changed the PG from 90 +/- 42 to 22 +/- 9 mm Hg, the systolic blood pressure (SBP) from 85 +/- 11 to 116 +/- 20 mm Hg, and the LV ejection fraction (LVEF) from 30% +/- 7% to 43% +/- 4%. (4) In all subjects, the changes in the PG after propranolol injection had a significant linear correlation with the SBP and LVEF changes: deltaSBP = 4.738 + 0.315 x deltaPG (r = 0.689 (P < .001) and deltaLVEF = 2.973 + 0.1321 x deltaPG (r = 0.715, P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Intravenous propranolol is useful for treating dynamic MVO in patients with transient LV apical ballooning.

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