Tako-tsubo: A transitory impairment of microcirculation? A case report

Cristina Malafronte, Andrea Farina, Angela Tempesta, Elisabetta Lobiati, Roberto Galbiati, Edoardo Cantù, Luigi Piatti, Luigia Florimonte, Lorenzo Maffioli, Felice Achilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tako-tsubo syndrome, or transient left ventricular apical ballooning, has been widely described in Japan as a cardiomyopathy which resembles acute myocardial infarction on presentation, but characterized by a normal coronary tree and a favorable outcome. Conversely few series have been described in Europe and etiology and mechanism are still unknown. We describe the case of a 74-year-old Italian woman with tako-tsubo cardiomyopathy, one of the first Italian cases reported to our knowledge. In the acute phase, echocardiography and ventriculography showed the typical mid-apical systolic left ventricular dysfunction, with an angiographically normal coronary tree. A few days after, technetium-99m single-photon emission computed tomography disclosed a large mid-apical perfusion defect and dobutamine stress echocardiography showed a typical "biphasic" response. Three months later, all of these tests normalized with normal left ventricular function. In conclusion, the results of functional tests, during the acute and subacute phases, suggest that, in the absence of evident coronary spasm, a transitory reduction of the coronary reserve played a role in the pathogenesis. In the absence of epicardial coronary obstruction this could be due to a transient microcircle dysfunction, and may be attributed to a spasm followed by impaired vasodilation capability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-938
Number of pages6
JournalItalian Heart Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Coronary microcirculation
  • Echocardiography
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Myocardial scintigraphy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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