Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 432–435 | Cite as

Understanding stress cardiomyopathy

  • Steven M. HollenbergEmail author
Understanding the Disease


A 76-year-old woman loses a close friend. Several hours later, she has chest pain, diaphoresis, and shortness of breath. She presents to the emergency department, where an ECG shows deep T wave inversion across the precordium. Cardiac troponin is elevated.

This presentation is classic for myocardial ischemia and for stress cardiomyopathy.

Recognition of stress cardiomyopathy, and its distinction from acute coronary syndrome (ACS), is crucial for the clinician, since their pathophysiology and treatment are quite different.

Stress cardiomyopathy is an acute reversible syndrome with characteristic wall motion abnormalities, consisting of apical hypokinesis or dyskinesis with sparing of the basal ventricular segments. Although the final outcome is generally good, early in their clinical course, patients may have cardiogenic shock (4 %), malignant ventricular arrhythmias (1–2 %), and death (1–1.5 %) [1]. Stress cardiomyopathy can complicate other conditions in the ICU, notably...


Acute Coronary Syndrome Late Gadolinium Enhancement Coronary Flow Reserve Wall Motion Abnormality Levosimendan 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The author has no conflicts of interest to declare in connection with this submission.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and ESICM 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Divisions of Cardiovascular Disease and Critical Care MedicineCooper University HospitalCamdenUSA

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