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Stress Cardiomyopathy/ Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy

Stress Cardiomyopathy/ Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy - Causes and Risk Factors


The exact cause of stress cardiomyopathy is unknown. It is generally thought to be caused by a surge of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, that suddenly causes the heart to temporarily enlarge, decrease the pumping action and possibly restrict one or more of the coronary arteries.

Stress cardiomyopathy tends to happen after intense physical or emotional events. Some examples of such events include:

  • Physical events: Sudden illnesses, injuries or major operations. 
  • Emotional events: Big arguments, intense fear, death of a loved one or other kinds of loss.

In some rare cases, the use of certain drugs or medications might also lead to stress cardiomyopathy. 

Stress cardiomyopathy is different from a heart attack. A heart attack is usually caused by acute cessation of blood flow in one of the coronary arteries due to blood clots formed on a ruptured cholesterol plaque. In stress cardiomyopathy, the arteries are not blocked but blood flow in the arteries may be reduced.

Risk factors

Even though the exact cause of stress cardiomyopathy is unknown, there are certain risk factors that might increase one’s chances of getting it. These include: 

  • Age: Those who are above the age of 50, especially post-menopausal women, are at higher risk of getting stress cardiomyopathy. The exact reason for this is not known, but it is thought that the female hormone oestrogen helps to protect the heart from any harmful effects of adrenaline. When women go through menopause, their oestrogen levels decrease, thus increasing their risk of developing this condition. 
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to have stress cardiomyopathy.
  • Past or current mental health disorders: Those with a history of mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression have a higher risk of developing stress cardiomyopathy. 

Stress Cardiomyopathy/ Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy - Preparing for surgery

Stress Cardiomyopathy/ Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy - Post-surgery care

Stress Cardiomyopathy/ Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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