Recurrent Direct Current Cardioversion Induced Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy


  • Athanasios Smyrlis Western Connecticut Health Network Yale School of Medicine University of Vermont School of Medicine
  • Dmitry Yaranov
  • Ira Galin University of Vermont School of Medicine
  • Shahzad Khan
  • Jonathan Alexander Yale School of Medicine



Stress cardiomyopathy (SCM), also called broken heart syndrome and Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is an increasingly reported syndrome generally characterized by transient systolic dysfunction of the apical and or mid segments of the left ventricle that mimics myocardial infarction, in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease. Typically patients present within a few hours of exposure to physical or emotional stress. However, the mechanism by which these stressors result in myocardial dysfunction is unclear. Proposed factors include catecholamine excess and coronary vasospasm1. We present the case of a 61-year-old female who experienced acute pulmonary edema secondary to stress cardiomyopathy, on two occasions immediately after undergoing elective direct current cardioversion (DCCV) for atrial fibrillation (Afib). After an urgent hospitalization for management of acute left ventricular failure, she made a complete clinical and echocardiographic recovery.  The incidence, clinical implications and prognosis of DCCV induced SCM is unknown. Given DCCV for Afib is a common outpatient procedure and DCCV induced SCM can lead to acute clinical deterioration it is important that physicians are vigilant about this newly recognized electrical cardioversion complication.






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