Are electrocardiographic changes in patients with acute subarachnoid hemorrhage associated with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy?

Research paper by Jae-Hun JH Jung, Pil-Ki PK Min, Se-Joong SJ Rim, Jong-Won JW Ha, Namsik N Chung, Kyu-Chang KC Lee

Indexed on: 13 Nov '09Published on: 13 Nov '09Published in: Cardiology


Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) has been associated with electrocardiographic (ECG) changes, arrhythmias, and release of cardiac enzymes. Recently, Takotsubo cardiomyopathies, presenting typical ECG changes and left ventricular (LV) regional wall-motion abnormalities (RWMAs), have been reported and considered to be a result of high norepinephrine (NE) levels. We hypothesized that ST-T-wave changes in patients with SAH may be manifestations of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy and associated with RWMAs.We instituted consecutive echocardiographic screening of all patients with acute aneurysmal SAH. A standard 12-lead ECG and blood samples for creatine kinase (CK) MB isoenzyme and troponin-T (Tn-T) were obtained. To evaluate sympathetic nervous activity, we obtained blood samples and urine samples for NE.Of 42 patients with acute aneurysmal SAH, 26 had abnormal ECG including rhythm abnormalities. Ten of 12 patients with ST-T-wave changes had severe neurologic deficits, but 1 patient had RWMAs on echocardiography. Another patient with LV dysfunction showed a normal ST-T wave. In patients with ST-T-wave changes, elevated Tn-T (8.3 vs. 3.3%), CK-MB (8.3 vs. 10.0%), plasma and urine NE (16.7 and 33.3% vs. 16.7 and 50.0%), and mortality (8.3 vs. 13.3%) were not significantly higher. All 5 deaths resulted from noncardiac causes. High plasma and urine NE levels were not related to neurologic severity or mortality.Although ECG abnormalities are frequently seen in SAH patients, the incidence of RWMAs is very low. Electrocardiographic manifestations in patients with SAH and Takotsubo cardiomyopathy are similar, but ECG abnormalities in patients with SAH are mostly not related to LV dysfunction.