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Diagnostic challenges between takotsubo cardiomyopathy and acute myocardial infarction-where is the emergency?: a literature review.

BACKGROUND: Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TC) is an emergency cardiovascular disease, with clinical and paraclinical manifestations similar to acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but it is characterized by reversible systolic dysfunction of the left ventricle (LV) in the absence (most of the time) of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD).

MANAGEMENT OF PATIENTS WITH TC: TC seems to be more frequent in post-menopausal women and it is triggered by emotional or physical stress. The diagnosis of TC is based on the Mayo Clinic criteria. Initially, patients with TC should be treated as those with AMI and carefully monitored in intensive care unit. Urgent clinical and paraclinical distinction between TC and AMI is mandatory in all patients, because of the different therapeutical management between the two diseases. Chest pain and dyspnea are the most common symptoms in TC. Paraclinical diagnosis is based on cardiac biomarkers, electrocardiogram (ST-segment elevation/T wave inversion in precordial leads without reciprocal ST-segment depression in inferior leads and absence of Q waves), echocardiography (LV systolic dysfunction, regional wall motion abnormalities extended in more than one coronary territory), cardiac magnetic resonance and in most of the cases the positive diagnosis is established by performing CA to exclude obstructive CAD. The prognosis of patients with TC is considered benign in most cases, with a complete LV function recovery, but severe complications may occur, such as cardiogenic shock, LV free wall rupture, life-threatening arrhythmia, and cardiac arrest. Postoperative TC may develop after any type of surgical intervention due to acute stress and it should be differentiated from postoperative AMI. The management of patients with TC is medical and it is based on supportive care and the treatment of heart failure, while patients with AMI require myocardial revascularization.

CONCLUSIONS: TC leads to transient LV dysfunction that mimics AMI from which it should be differentiated for a good therapeutic approach. Patients with TC should be carefully monitored during hospitalization because they have a high recovery potential if optimally treated.

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