Takotsubo cardiomyopathy

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Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or acute stress-induced cardiomyopathy is a temporary condition in which the heart muscles abruptly weaken or in a “stunned” phase. The left ventricle changes shape and becomes enlarged. This causes the region to inadequately pump.

This condition can develop at any age, but usually affects women more than men. It is good to note that it is often brief and reversible.

What are the indications?

The characteristic symptoms of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy include the following:

In some instances, the individual might also experience nausea, vomiting and palpitations. Once these symptoms are present and you suspect that the individual is having a heart attack, call for emergency assistance right away.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy
Once these symptoms are present and you suspect that the individual is having a heart attack, call for emergency assistance right away.

What are the causes?

The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but there are several possible factors. Most individuals diagnosed with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy recently experienced either significant physical stress or an emotional ordeal.

An example of a stressful life event includes involvement in a natural disaster or bereavement. As for physical stress, having a recent surgery is a good example.


At the present, there is no medication proven to help an individual with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or to prevent it from developing for the second time.

During the initial phases of diagnosis, treatment for a heart attack is given including aspirin. The individual is closely monitored in a coronary unit in a hospital where the heart is monitored for 24-48 hours. At this phase, the individual is given other medications to promote recovery of the heart muscle.

The left ventricle is expected to normalized over a few days, weeks or months and the individual should undergo regular ECG until this occurs. Unless the individual has an underlying health condition, there is no need for additional medication or treatment in the long run.

Is there a risk for recurrence?

Approximately 10-15% of individuals with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy previously might develop another episode. For those who are affected again, the stressful event might be different.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize circulatory issues including Takotsubo cardiomyopathy by taking a standard first aid course with one of our training providers.

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