Takotsubo syndrome: getting closer to its causes

Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) accounts for between 1 and 4% of cases presenting clinically as an acute coronary syndrome. It typically presents as a transient cardiac phenotype of left ventricular dysfunction with spontaneous recovery. More dramatic presentations may include cardiogenic shock or cardiac arrest. Despite progress in the understanding of the condition since its first description in 1990, considerable questions remain into understanding underlying pathomechanisms. In this review article, we describe the current published data on potential underlying mechanisms associated with the onset of TTS including sympathetic nervous system over-stimulation, structural and functional alterations in the central nervous system, catecholamine secretion, alterations in the balance and distribution of adrenergic receptors, the additive impact of hormones including oestrogen, epicardial coronary or microvascular spasm, endothelial dysfunction, and genetics as potentially contributing to the cascade of events leading to the onset. 

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