Neurogenic stunned myocardium resulting from surgical brainstem handling during resection of paediatric recurrent medulloblastoma-a possible brain heart interaction

Childs Nerv Syst. 2022 Oct;38(10):2025-2028. doi: 10.1007/s00381-022-05523-6. Epub 2022 Apr 23.


Background: Neurogenic stunned myocardium (NSM) is characterised by an acute onset cardiac dysfunction following an acute neurological insult which mimics acute coronary syndrome.

Case details: A 12-year-old male child was admitted to the neuro-intensive care unit (NICU) following midline suboccipital craniotomy and resection of recurrent medulloblastoma. Postoperatively, in NICU, he developed tachycardia and hypotension, which was unresponsive to fluid challenge requiring norepinephrine infusion. Intraoperatively, during tumour resection from the dorsal medulla, episodes of hypertension and bradycardia were observed. Intraoperative blood loss was adequately managed with a stable hemodynamic profile without postoperative anaemia. An electrocardiogram showed sinus tachycardia with T wave inversion, and blood investigation revealed elevated cardiac troponin T levels. Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) of heart and lung showed features of NSM. Infusion dobutamine was added to achieve a target mean arterial pressure of 65 mm Hg with concomitant furosemide infusion and fluid restriction. Daily POCUS assessment of cardiac contractility and volume status was done. The patient was weaned from vasoactive drugs and ventilator following improvement of cardiac function and was discharged from NICU after 17 days.

Conclusion: NSM results from the excessive release of catecholamines following stimulation of trigger zones in the brain. To date, a handful of cases of pediatric NSM following primary brain tumour are reported where hydrocephalus resulted in trigger zone activation. In this presented case, direct brain stem stimulation during tumour resection might have triggered NSM. Irrespective of the cause, timely diagnosis and execution of supportive management in our patient resulted in a positive outcome.

Keywords: Catecholamines; Medulloblastoma; Neurogenic pulmonary edema; Neurogenic stunned myocardium; POCUS.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Brain Neoplasms* / complications
  • Brain Stem
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / complications
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Child
  • Dobutamine
  • Furosemide
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma* / complications
  • Medulloblastoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Medulloblastoma* / surgery
  • Myocardial Stunning* / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Stunning* / etiology
  • Norepinephrine
  • Troponin T


  • Troponin T
  • Dobutamine
  • Furosemide
  • Norepinephrine