Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTC) has generally been regarded as a relatively transient disorder, characterized by reversible regional left ventricular systolic dysfunction. However, most patients with TTC experience prolonged lassitude or dyspnea after acute attacks. Although this might reflect continued emotional stress, myocardial inflammation and accentuated brain-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) release persist for at least 3 months. We therefore tested the hypotheses that this continued inflammation is associated with (1) persistent contractile dysfunction and (2) consequent impairment of quality of life. Echocardiographic parameters (global longitudinal strain [GLS], longitudinal strain rate [LSR], and peak apical twist [AT]) were compared acutely and after 3 months in 36 female patients with TTC and 19 age-matched female controls. Furthermore, correlations were sought between putative functional anomalies, inflammatory markers (T2 score on cardiovascular magnetic resonance, plasma NT-proBNP, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels), and the physical composite component of SF36 score (SF36-PCS). In TTC cases, left ventricular ejection fraction returned to normal within 3 months. GLS, LSR, and AT improved significantly over 3-month recovery, but GLS remained reduced compared to controls even at follow-up (-17.9 ± 3.1% vs -20.0 ± 1.8%, p = 0.003). Impaired GLS at 3 months was associated with both persistent NT-proBNP elevation (p = 0.03) and reduced SF36-PCS at ≥3 months (p = 0.04). In conclusion, despite normalization of left ventricular ejection fraction, GLS remains impaired for at least 3 months, possibly as a result of residual myocardial inflammation. Furthermore, perception of impaired physical exercise capacity ≥3 months after TTC may be explained by persistent myocardial dysfunction.
American Journal of Cardiology
1085 - 1089