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Broken heart syndrome, cardiomyopathy, case study, stress-induced, takotsubo



  1. Swenson, Sara BSN, RN, PCCN (Clinical Nurse and Master's Student)


Background and purpose: Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TCM), first reported by Japanese doctors, has gained an overall acknowledgment as an independent malady of international attention. It resembles the presentation of an acute myocardial infarction but lacks ischemic myocardial tissue. The objective of this article is to review the physiology, diagnostics, treatment, and complications of TCM and report a case study of a patient who developed TCM.


Methods: Observation through direct patient care allowed for data collection of this unique medical phenomenon. Supporting information was obtained via investigation of scholarly articles on TCM over the past 10 years.


Conclusions: Although TCM is usually transient, it is important to quickly differentiate TCM from other more serious medical conditions, such as myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, and pheochromocytoma. Typical diagnostic workup includes electrocardiography, cardiac biomarkers, and echocardiography or coronary angiography. Complications include cardiogenic shock, left ventricular wall rupture, and life-threatening arrhythmias.


Implications for practice: The advanced practice nurse (APN) is instrumental in differentiating between TCM versus acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pulmonary edema, dynamic outflow obstruction, and cardiogenic shock. Because of these possible acute and critical presentations, prompt recognition and intervention for patients with TCM are priorities for nurse practitioners.