BACKGROUND: Anxiety disorders are more common in Takotsubo syndrome (TS) than in acute coronary syndrome patients. Theaim of this study was to investigate whether pre-existing anxiety disorders predispose to TS triggered by exclusively emotional stressful events.
METHODS: Triggering events were compared in 58 TS patients with and without pre-existing anxiety disorders; clinical, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic data were also collected.
RESULTS: Thirty-one (53%) patients had a previous history of anxiety disorders. The exclusively emotional stressful event-rate was higher in TS patients with pre-existing anxiety disorder (74% vs. 30%, p = 0.001), while TS caused by an undetermined trigger were significantly higher in patients without anxiety disorders (33% vs. 10%, p = 0.027). Moreover, in TS patients without a previous history of anxiety disorders, a trend of higher prevalence of physical events was found (16% vs. 37%, p = 0.07).
CONCLUSIONS: In patients with pre-existing anxiety disorders, TS was predominantly triggered by exclusively emotional stressful events, thereby suggesting a possible relationship between anxiety and emotional cardiac frailty in TS patients.