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Recurrent Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy: Getting to the Root of the Problem

Matthew A. Tunzi, Laith Dinkha, Alec J. Sharp, Rosco S. Gore

(Department of Internal Medicine, San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e923067

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.923067


BACKGROUND: While takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TC) is a rare cardiomyopathy, recurrent takotsubo cardiomyopathy (rTC) is even more so, occurring in only 4% of patients with TC. Treatment is based on expert opinion and includes standard heart failure treatment using beta blockers (BB) and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI). We present a case of rTC demonstrating how using a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can successfully prevent recurrence.
CASE REPORT: A 64-year-old woman presented with ST-elevation myocardial infarction, and coronary angiography demonstrated non-obstructive coronary artery disease. Left heart catheterization showed apical hypokinesis with preserved function of the basal segments, consistent with TC. She reported having experienced multiple emotional stressors. The patient was started on BB and ACEI, and 5 months later repeat imaging showed resolution of her TC. One month after resolution, she was re-admitted for chest pressure, and imaging demonstrated rTC. This time, in addition to continued conventional therapy, she was started on an SSRI and CBT. Nearly 6 months later, her rTC had resolved.
CONCLUSIONS: Anxiety and depression are more common in patients with TC than in patients with STEMI, but there is little in the literature about the roles of SSRI and CBT in TC treatment. In fact, SSRIs are controversial since they can increase catecholamine concentration, which some experts believe contributes to TC. The positive response of our patient to combination SSRI-CBT therapy suggests that additional research is needed on the use of this approach for prevention and treatment of rTC.

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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