Introduction and objectives: Tako-tsubo-like transient left ventricular apical ballooning has been described in Japan, but few cases have been reported in Western countries. We report one of the first series outside Japan, which provides new information on the coronary anatomy of this disorder.
Patients and methods: From January 1998 to February 2003 we observed 11 patients with a clinical suspicion of acute myocardial infarction, normal coronary arteries, and transient tako-tsubo-like systolic left ventricular apical ballooning. We compared the coronary artery anatomy in these 11 patients with that in 44 controls matched for age and sex: 22 with normal coronary arteries and 22 with acute myocardial infarction related with an obstructive thrombus in the left anterior descending coronary artery.
Results: As in Japanese patients, tako-tsubo syndrome in Caucasian patients frequently occurs in women in their seventh or eighth decades of life, and is usually preceded by emotional or physical stress. The left anterior descending in our patients with tako-tsubo syndrome was longer overall, and its recurrent diaphragmatic segment was longer, than in controls. To compare these groups we designed a measure termed recurrent segment index (left anterior descending recurrent segment length/total left anterior descending length x 100). In tako-tsubo syndrome this index was 22.3 (1.5)%, vs 10.9 (6.7)% in normal controls (P<.001), and 11.3 (7.7)% in acute myocardial infarction patients (P<.001). Patients with acute myocardial infarction and a high recurrent segment index (> or =16%) had ventriculographic findings of systolic apical ballooning identical to those in patients with tako-tsubo syndrome.
Conclusions: All our patients with tako-tsubo syndrome had a left anterior descending with a long recurrent segment. The identical ventriculographic findings in patients with tako-tsubo syndrome and those with acute myocardial infarction with a long recurrent segment may be due to a common etiology.