Is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy A Heart Attack?

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy which is also known as broken heart syndrome, it is the condition of the heart in which the heart muscles becomes weak. The problem of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy was first discovered in the year 1990 in Japan. The term Takotsubo is derived from Japanese word meaning octopus pot. Left ventricle of heart looks somewhat similar to a pot; hence it is named as Takotsubo.

The problem can be developed in people of all age groups, but it is more commonly seen in women as compared to men. One interesting aspect of this problem is that in most of the cases the problem is temporary and can be reversed.

Is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy A Heart Attack?

Is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy A Heart Attack?

Research conducted in the United States says that around 5 percent of the women who were evaluated for a heart attack have takotsubo cardiomyopathy. With proper treatment the patients will recover without any long-term heart damage. Most of the prominent symptoms of takotsubo cardiomyopathy are simile to that of heart attack such as:

Mainly doctors perform ECG and blood test to know whether the person is suffering from Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or not. Doctors check in detail, the complete medical history of the patient to ensure that whether the patient has suffered from any heart related problem earlier. Usually, ECG helps in identifying the symptoms of heart attack, so it is important that the doctor should also carry a series of tests to diagnose the exact problem.

The doctor then prescribe angiogram test, where they take a deep and close look in to the blockage (if any) present in the coronary arteries of heart. In people suffering from Takotsubo cardiomyopathy no significant blockage is seen in the arteries, but it is observed that shape of left ventricle changes. This drastic change in shape helps in diagnosing the problem.

In addition to angiogram, there are two more tests MRI i.e. cardiac magnetic resonance scan and echocardiogram helps in diagnosing the broken heart problem. Both these tests display abnormal change in the heart.


The exact cause of this problem is not clearly known, instead; there are a series of theories. Approximately 75 percent of people who are suffering from Takotsubo cardiomyopathy have either experienced physical stress or emotional stress in the recent times. One of the prominent instances of stressful event is witnessing natural disaster such as earthquake. On the contrary, some people also suffer from this problem after experiencing an extremely happy moment such as marriage or job promotion.


In the recent times, there are many medications available in the market that helps in treating the broken heart problem and also it helps in preventing the problem in the long run. The treatment is run is a specific pattern, where the first treatment is given for heart attack. After the treatment starts doctors keep the patient under observation and closely monitor the heart for around 48 hours. It is at this stage only when patients are also given some other medications that will aid in improving heart muscles. After certain duration like days, weeks or months left ventricle starts to regain its original shape, but till then the condition of the patient is observed with regular echocardiograms.

Once the heart regains its original shape, there is no need to continue the medication. However, if the patient is diagnosed with any other heart problem then the medications may have to be continued. Till date no valid proof is found to justify whether Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a hereditary problem and is passed on from one generation to the other.

Risk of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy Re-Occurring

Almost 10 to 15 percent of people suffered from takotsubo cardiomyopathy may suffer from the second phase of the problem. Although, it is also true that the stressful events associated with the problem may be completely different from the first phase.

It is very important that patient should discuss about their problem in detail with the doctor. This will help them in knowing about their problem and also the risk factors and the side effects that are associated with the problem.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 17, 2018

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