Background: Stress cardiomyopathy (SCM) is a peculiar form of reversible left ventricular dysfunction seen predominantly in women and occurs in response to emotional or physical stress. Because dysfunction in SCM is reversible and that of acute myocardial infarction (MI) is not, we hypothesized that these fundamental mechanistic differences between SCM and MI would be associated with different systolic and diastolic properties.
Methods and results: We examined 3 groups, all women: patients with SCM (n=24; mean age, 63±12 years), those with left anterior (LAD) ST-segment-elevation MI (n=36; mean age, 63±10 years), and referent control subjects (n=30; mean age, 62±8 years). All underwent angiography, ventriculography, and pressure measurements within 48 hours of presentation. Left ventricular volumes, diastolic pressures, and diastolic stiffness were higher in SCM and LAD MI patients than in control subjects but no different from each other. Similarly, left ventricular diastolic pressures and diastolic stiffness were elevated in the SCM and LAD MI groups compared with the control group. Left ventricular ejection fraction in SCM and LAD MI were 40.8±12.3% and 49.6±5.6%, respectively, versus 70.4±9.4% in control subjects (P<0.001), and stroke work less than half the value of control subjects. Indexes of contractility and ventricular-arterial coupling were similarly abnormal in SCM and LAD MI.
Conclusions: SCM and LAD MI show severe diastolic dysfunction. At similar left ventricular volumes, their diastolic pressures are more than twice as high as in control subjects, and systolic dysfunction is equally reduced in SCM and LAD MI. Despite a completely different pathophysiology in terms of systolic and diastolic function, SCM is indistinguishable from acute LAD-territory MI.
Keywords: cardiomyopathies; diastole; echocardiography; heart failure; myocardial infarction.