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11-07-2016 | Original Article - E‑Learning | Uitgave 9/2016 Open Access

Netherlands Heart Journal 9/2016

Psychological distress and personality factors in takotsubo cardiomyopathy

Netherlands Heart Journal > Uitgave 9/2016
L. Smeijers, B.M. Szabó, W.J. Kop



Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TCC) is a transient condition characterised by severe left ventricular dysfunction combined with symptoms and signs mimicking myocardial infarction. Emotional triggers are common, but little is known about the psychological background characteristics of TCC. This study examined whether patients with TTC have higher levels of psychological distress (depressive symptoms, perceived stress, general anxiety), illness-related anxiety and distinct personality factors compared with healthy controls and patients with heart failure.

Methods and Results

Patients with TCC (N = 18; mean age 68.3 ± 11.7 years, 77.8 % women) and two comparison groups (healthy controls: N = 19, age 60.0 ± 7.6, 68.4 % women and patients with chronic heart failure: N = 19, age 68.8 ± 10.1, 68.4 % women) completed standardised questionnaires to measure depression (PHQ‑9), perceived stress (PSS-10), general anxiety (GAD-7), illness-related anxiety (WI-7) and personality factors (NEO-FFI and DS-14). Psychological measures were obtained at 23 ± 18 months following the acute TTC event. Results showed that patients with TCC had higher levels of depressive symptoms (5.2 ± 5.2 vs. 2.5 ± 2.4, p = 0.039) and illness-related anxiety (2.1 ± 1.7 vs. 0.7 ± 1.3, p = 0.005) compared with healthy controls. Patients with TCC did not display significantly elevated perceived stress (p = 0.072) or general anxiety (p = 0.170). Regarding personality factors, levels of openness were lower in TCC compared with healthy controls (34.2 ± 4.3 vs. 38.2 ± 5.6, p = 0.021). No differences between TCC and heart failure patients were found regarding the psychological measures.


TCC is associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, more illness-related anxiety and less openness compared with healthy controls. These data suggest that TCC is associated with adverse psychological factors that may persist well after the acute episode.

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Netherlands Heart Journal

Het Netherlands Heart Journal wordt uitgegeven in samenwerking met de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cardiologie en de Nederlandse Hartstichting. Het tijdschrift is Engelstalig en wordt gratis beschikbaa ...

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