Is everything clear about Tako-tsubo syndrome?

Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2011 Apr-Jun;53(2):5-12. doi: 10.2478/v10153-010-0031-0.


Tako-tsubo syndrome is a novel cardio-vascular disease affecting predominantly postmenopausal women exposed to unexpected strong emotional or physical stress, in the absence of significant coronary heart disease. It is characterized by acute onset of severe chest pain and/or acute left ventricular failure, ECG-changes, typical left ventricular angiographic findings, good prognosis and positive resolution of the morphological and clinical manifestations. First described in 1990 in Japan by Sato, Tako-tsubo cardiomyopathy is characterized by transient contractile abnormalities of the left ventricle, causing typical left ventricular apical ballooning at end-systole with concomitant compensatory basal hyperkinesia. There are also atypical forms, presenting with left ventricular systolic dysfunction which affects the mid-portions of the left ventricle. The etiology of the disease still remains unclear. Many theories have been put forward about the potential underlying pathophysiological mechanisms that may trigger this syndrome among which are the theory of catecholamine excess, the theory of multivessel coronary vasospasm, the ischemic theory, and the theory of microvascular dysfunction and dynamic left ventricular gradient induced by elevated circulating catecholamine levels. Adequate management of Tako-tsubo syndrome demands immediate preparation for coronary angiography. Once the diagnosis is made, treatment is primarily symptomatic and includes monitoring for complications. Patients with Tako-tsubo syndrome most frequently develop acute LV failure, pulmonary edema, rhythm and conductive disturbances and apical thrombosis. Treatment is symptomatic and includes administration of diuretics, vasodilators and mechanical support of circulation with intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chest Pain / diagnosis
  • Chest Pain / etiology*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Vasospasm / complications*
  • Coronary Vasospasm / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Syndrome
  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy* / complications
  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy* / diagnosis
  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy* / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Function, Left