Title

Cardiopathia Fantastica: The Cardiac Variant of Munchausen Syndrome

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Journal

Southern Medical Journal

Volume

97

Issue

1

DOI

10.1097/01.SMJ.0000076704.01274.0F

Keywords

Cardiopathia fantastica; Factitious disorder; Munchausen syndrome; Somatoform disorders

Abstract

Munchausen syndrome is a rare condition in which the patient repeatedly seeks medical care for factitious illnesses. Cardiac Munchausen syndrome was first reported in 1953 and later referred to as cardiopathia fantastica. It is characterized by clinical manifestations of acute cardiac disease that are feigned and recurrent. Cardiopathia fantastica can have a variety of presentations similar to true cardiac disease. Most cases have presented with chest pain simulating acute coronary artery disease, but arrhythmias, hypertensive crises, abnormal biochemistry, and electrocardiographic findings have also been noted. These patients are willing to undergo expensive, invasive, and risky procedures to evaluate their simulated illness. This condition is likely to be significantly underreported. In some patients, the presence of abnormal findings that are clinically insignificant may complicate the investigative approach. Patients with this disorder consume a disproportionate amount of health care dollars and sometimes are left with residual deficits as complications of invasive procedures. In this review, we discuss the recognition, manifestations, and treatment of cardiopathia fantastica.

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