A 68-year-old with cranial nerve neuropathies and a troponin rise

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In this case study, we summarise the inpatient investigations and management of a 68-year-old woman with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy secondary to a Varicella zoster encephalitis and the difficulties inherent with making this diagnosis. She presented with evolving cranial nerve neuropathies, which started with a vagal nerve mononeuritis and eventually included left-sided sensorineural hearing loss and a facial nerve palsy. These symptoms were concomitant with a variety of cardiac abnormalities, including fast atrial fibrillation and electrocardiographic changes. We summarise some of the current understanding of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy and the criteria for its diagnosis. Although left ventricular apical ballooning has been described in association with severe infections and states of high stress, we have not seen it reported in association with a Varicella zoster encephalitis.

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