Diagnosis of takotsubo cardiomyopathy soars

24th September 2015

The number of women diagnosed with takotsubo cardiomyopathy has risen nineteen-fold in six years in America, says a study.

Researchers looked at diagnosis of the disease from 2006 to 2012 at nearly 1,000 hospitals. In 2006, there were 315 cases but by 2012 there were 6,230 cases. Increasing recognition and better diagnosis of the condition is thought to be largely responsible.

The study was led by Dr Anum Minhas from the department of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Because of few documented studies of the condition, the researchers looked at nationwide trends including the length of hospital stays, sex, age categories (18-44 years, 45-64 years, 65-84 years and 85 years plus) and estimated the total number of hospital discharges and hospital death rates.

The incidence of the disease among men remained low during the study period. Although reasons for the increased incidence in older women have not been established, the researchers suggested it may be due to loss of oestrogen, which may protect the heart, in postmenopausal women.

The mean length of hospital stay remained stable, from 3.4 days in 2006 to 3.6 days in 2012.

Patients aged 65 to 84 years had the most frequent diagnosis of takotsubo cardiomyopathy. In 2012, this age group accounted for 50% of all cases, followed by patients aged 45 to 64 years, who accounted for 39% of cases.

People with TTC generally do well and there is low recurrence (2% to 5%), researchers said. But it is important to diagnosis the condition promptly and accurately, especially for postmenopausal women.

“Takotsubo cardiomyopathy has increased significantly from 2006 to 2012 most likely because of increasing recognition of the syndrome,” said the researchers. “The correct diagnosis has important implications for both its management and prognosis.”