Systematic Reviews
Copyright ©2014 Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Radiol. Jul 28, 2014; 6(7): 502-506
Published online Jul 28, 2014. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v6.i7.502
Usefulness of myocardial positron emission tomography/nuclear imaging in Takotsubo cardiomyopathy
Marzia Testa, Mauro Feola
Marzia Testa, Mauro Feola, Cardiovascular Rehabilitation, Heart Failure Unit, 12045 Fossano, Italy
Marzia Testa, School of Geriatry, Universita’ degli Studi di Torino, Torino 10126, Italy
Author contributions: Testa M wrote the manuscript; Feola M wrote and edited the manuscript.
Correspondence to: Feola Mauro, MD, FESC, Cardiovascular Rehabilitation, Heart Failure Unit, Ospedale SS Trinita’, Via Ospedale 4, 12045 Fossano, Italy.
Telephone: +39-0172-699365 Fax: +39-0172-699364
Received: January 21, 2014
Revised: May 28, 2014
Accepted: June 14, 2014
Published online: July 28, 2014

AIM: To analyse and summarize all the articles related to positron emission tomography and Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTC).

METHODS: We performed a systematic review of the existing literature on positron emission tomography/nuclear imaging and Takotsubo cardiomyopathy using PUBMED database. We combined search terms such as “takotsubo”, “takotsubo syndrome”, “myocardial positron emission tomography”, “positron emission tomography”. All case reports were excluded. The list included only four articles which were reviewed by two independent investigators. It was not possible to undertake a formal meta-analysis because of the heterogeneity of the studies; therefore, we made a narrative synthesis of the collected data.

RESULTS: Nuclear medicine techniques can be useful employed in the differential diagnosis of TTC from an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). In fact, transient left ventricular (LV) apical ballooning is a syndrome frequently misdiagnosed as an ACS and can mimic symptoms of myocardial infarction with ST-T segments changes on electrocardiography (ECG), a limited release of myocardial enzyme, mainly reported after sudden emotional or physical stress, and an akinesis or dyskinesis of the left ventricle apex which are completely reversible in a few weeks. In the studies included in this review, nuclear medicine techniques have demonstrated a discrepancy between normal perfusion and a reduced glucose utilization in TTC, commonly known as “inverse flow metabolism mismatch”. This suggests that apical ballooning represents a transient metabolic disorder on the cellular level, rather than a structural contractile disease of the myocardium, due to a transient decrease of glucose metabolism that might be related to a coronary microcirculation impairment followed by prolonged myocardial stunning.

CONCLUSION: Nuclear medicine techniques can be usefully used for the diagnosis of TTC and can increase our knowledge of the pathophysiological mechanisms of TTC.

Keywords: Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, Cardiac positron emission tomography, Clinical review.

Core tip: Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a cardiac syndrome with symptoms similar to acute myocardial infarction (MI) including chest pain and electrocardiographic changes, in absence of coronary artery stenosis. This syndrome is characterized by reversible wall-motion abnormalities involving apical and midportion of left ventricle. In the acute phase it is clinically indistinguishable from acute MI but, recently, myocardial positron emission tomography have demonstrated to delineate this syndrome from acute coronary artery disease, also offering a new pathophysiological explanation for this particular syndrome. This clinical review aimed to summarise the most significant experiences on the use of myocardial positron emission tomography in Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.