Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTS) is a rare condition related to stress featuring apical hypokinesis. Current guidelines suggest that the exclusion of other causal factors like myocarditis is required to diagnose TTS. However, we propose that the existing diagnostic criteria for TTS, particularly, required exclusion of myocarditis, adds to the challenge of making this diagnosis in the clinical setting. Hereby, we present a case with basal hypokinesis that could have been attributed to a conjunction of reverse Takotsubo syndrome (rTTS) with viral or toxic myocarditis.

Case Presentation:

A 29-year-old female complained of acute persistent chest pain, palpitations, and vomiting after smoking marijuana. She was tachycardic without hemodynamic instability or hypoxia. Electrocardiogram showed sinus tachycardia. Troponin peaked at 16.1 ng/ml. Urine drug screen was positive for amphetamines. Echocardiogram and catheterization showed left ventricular reduced ejection fraction (25-30%) with basal hypokinesia and apical hyperkinesis, suggestive of reversed Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) also showed delayed contrast enhancement suggestive of myocarditis. Viral panel noted positive Coxsackie B titer on day 7 of hospitalization. She was treated with goal-directed medical therapy and repeat echocardiogram 6 days after showed normalized left ventricular systolic function.


Guidelines recommend the use of clinical history, inflammatory markers, and CMR to exclude infectious myocarditis before diagnosing rTTS. The clinical scenario in this case presented evidence of a catecholamine-related substance exposure known to trigger takotsubo cardiomyopathy and of an elevated Coxsackie B titer. The CMR showed features explainable by myocarditis and partially by rTTS. This case highlights the complexity of diagnosing TTS or rTTS with infective myocarditis as exclusion criteria. While imaging, history, and labs play a vital role, a lack of complete understanding about the pathophysiology of this disease as well as existing diagnostic criteria complicate the ability to make this diagnosis in the clinical setting.