Background: Transient left ventricular apical ballooning syndrome (TLVABS) is an acute cardiac syndrome mimicking ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction characterized by transient wall-motion abnormalities involving apical and mid-portions of the left ventricle in the absence of significant obstructive coronary disease.
Methods: Searching the MEDLINE database 28 case series met the eligibility criteria and were summarized in a narrative synthesis of the demographic characteristics, clinical features and pathophysiological mechanisms.
Results: TLVABS is observed in 0.7-2.5% of patients with suspected ACS, affects women in 90.7% (95% CI: 88.2-93.2%) with a mean age ranging from 62 to 76 years and most commonly presents with chest pain (83.4%, 95% CI: 80.0-86.7%) and dyspnea (20.4%, 95% CI: 16.3-24.5%) following an emotionally or physically stressful event. ECG on admission shows ST-segment elevations in 71.1% (95% CI: 67.2-75.1%) and is accompanied by usually mild elevations of Troponins in 85.0% (95% CI: 80.8-89.1%). Despite dramatic clinical presentation and substantial risk of heart failure, cardiogenic shock and arrhythmias, LVEF improved from 20-49.9% to 59-76% within a mean time of 7-37 days with an in-hospital mortality rate of 1.7% (95% CI: 0.5-2.8%), complete recovery in 95.9% (95% CI: 93.8-98.1%) and rare recurrence. The underlying etiology is thought to be based on an exaggerated sympathetic stimulation.
Conclusion: TLVABS is a considerable differential diagnosis in ACS, especially in postmenopausal women with a preceding stressful event. Data on longterm follow-up is pending and further studies will be necessary to clarify the etiology and reach consensus in acute and longterm management of TLVABS.