Transient abnormalities in ECGs, echocardiograms, and cardiac enzymes have been described in the acute setting of subarachnoid haemorrhage. In addition, left ventricular dysfunction has been reported at the time of brain death. A patient with an acute subarachnoid haemorrhage who presented with raised troponin I (TnI) concentrations and diffuse left ventricular dysfunction is described. After declaration of brain death 32 hours later, the heart was felt initially not suitable for transplantation. A normal cardiac catheterisation, however, lead to successful transplantation of the donor heart. Raised catecholamine concentrations and metabolic perturbations have been proposed as the mechanisms leading to the cardiac dysfunction seen with brain death. This may be a biphasic process, allowing time for myocardial recovery and reversal of the left ventricular dysfunction. Awareness of this phenomenon in the acutely ill neurologic population needs to be raised in order to prevent the unnecessary rejection of donor hearts.
- Heart transplantation
- Left ventricular dysfunction
- Troponin I
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine