Dr Cindy Towns
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is thought to account for 1-2 percent of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), ACS being medicalese for what most people would call ‘heart attacks’.
Takotsubo as a diagnosis got its name from a Japanese Octopus pot which looks a little like the Takotsubo heart on echocardiography (essentially an ultrasound). Takotsubo has some more creative synonyms, including acute stress cardiomyopathy, broken heart syndrome and ‘scared to death’. It mimics a traditional heart attack but is not due to coronary artery disease. Rather, the structure of the heart balloons in places. Classically, physically or emotionally distressing events precede the presentation, but the exact mechanism of the condition remains speculative. It has been associated with earthquakes in both Japan and New Zealand.