Cardiac disorder could affect more than previously thought

21 July 2011

Cardiac disorders and heart problems could affect more demographics than originally thought, according to a survey by Ingo Eitel, M.D of the University of Leipzig, Germany and colleagues.

Stress cardiomyopathy (SC) is a transient form of acute heart failure and normally affects postmenopausal women and involves acute, profound, but reversible, dysfunction in the left ventricle.

The study has shown, however, that SC appears to have clinical characteristics that are broader than what had previously been reported. This means younger patients, men and patients without an identifiable stressful trigger could all be at risk.

The report said: "Stress cardiomyopathy was accurately identified by cardiovascular magnetic resonance using specific criteria: a typical pattern of left ventricle dysfunction, myocardial edema [swelling], absence of significant necrosis [cell or tissue death]/fibrosis [formation of excess fibrous connective tissue], and markers for myocardial inflammation."

The study was originally carried out to comprehensively define the clinical spectrum of SC and to examine the usefulness of a set of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) criteria that might aid in diagnosis of suspected SC.

Statistics show there are around 68,000 new cases of heart failure diagnosed in the UK each year.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 Clinical Characteristics and Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Findings in Stress (Takotsubo) Cardiomyopathy, I. Eitel, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011

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