Sex Differences in Takotsubo Syndrome: A Narrative Review

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2020 Aug;29(8):1122-1130. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2019.7741. Epub 2019 Sep 24.


Takotsubo syndrome (TTS), or apical ballooning syndrome, is a transient and usually reversible form of cardiac dysfunction. It has classically been described in women with cardiac susceptibility when exposed to emotional or physical stress. Various hypotheses on the pathophysiology of TTS have been suggested, but the underlying mechanism remains unknown. There is increasing recognition of the sex differences in the presentation, triggers, severity, and complications of TTS. A literature review was conducted and found 75 relevant articles on PubMed Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar from 2001 to 2019 regarding TTS. We found remarkable sex differences existed in the underlying triggers, pathophysiology, illness severity, complications, and mortality. However, no sex differences were identified for baseline transthoracic echocardiogram findings, age at presentation, presenting symptoms, recurrence, and treatment approach. Much information regarding TTS remain lacking, but collaboration of national and international registries will be beneficial in addressing these gaps.

Keywords: cardiomyopathy; sex differences; takotsubo syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathies*
  • Female
  • Heart
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy* / diagnosis