Myocardial dysfunction is a known complication in patients who experience severe stressful events, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI). One common manifestation is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (TC) which can appear concomitantly in patients with haemorrhagic brain injuries. There is often a management dilemma when two conditions with conflicting treatment regimens arise in the same individual. Previous systematic review had highlighted the importance of accurate diagnosis but there is no algorithm to aid decision-making in an emergency trauma setting. A systematic review was performed with the aim of establishing a new algorithm to aid in the diagnosis and management of TC patients with concurrent TBI.
We performed a comprehensive search of Pubmed, google scholar, Embase and Cochrane databases using keywords ‘traumatic brain injury’ and ‘head injury’ associated with keywords of ‘Takotsubo cardiomyopathy,’ ‘Tako-tsubo cardiomyopathy,’ ‘stress cardiomyopathy,’ ‘stunned myocardium,’ ‘transient-left-ventricular ballooning syndrome,’ ‘apical ballooning syndrome,’ ‘myocardial dysfunction’ or ‘heart failure’. Non traumatic brain injury, blunt cardiac injury or cardiac events from chest trauma were excluded. The search was done between 1st to 4th October 2020 and only articles published after the year 2000 in English were included. Articles were then analysed in-depth. No articles were excluded after analysis to remove reporting bias.
A total of 11 case reports and 7 cohort studies were analysed, giving a total number of 382 patients, with 36% of the patients analysed presenting with subdural haematoma, 27% with subarachnoid haemorrhage and 5% with extradural haematoma. Of the patients who underwent surgical interventions for traumatic brain injuries, 75% survived. 9% of patients in total were reported to have an EF of less than 55% whereas 51% had an EF of equal to or more than 55%. TTE details were not reported in a total of 35% of patients. All case reports which had followed up on their patient’s cardiac status with repeated echocardiography had demonstrated a resolution of cardiac function independent of cardiac intervention.
Our analysis was limited by the fact that not all papers analysed had reported the parameters we required. However, based on our review, we conclude that most patients with TC demonstrate a resolution of cardiac function independent of cardiac interventions from as fast as a few hours to as long as 6-12 weeks. Therefore, despite high cardiac risks, if neurosurgical intervention is needed, it should be offered to improve the chance of survival as transient cardiomyopathy can be supported with inotropes. We have developed a new algorithm for management of cases of concurrent TBI and TC.

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