Broken Heart Syndrome

What Is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is a heart condition that is often triggered by a stressful situation, such as the unexpected death of a loved one. If you have broken heart syndrome you may experience the feeling of sudden chest pain or think you are having a heart attack. The heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones causes a temporary disruption of your heart’s normal pumping function in one area of the heart. The rest of the heart functions normally or may contract more forcefully. Broken heart syndrome is treatable, and the condition usually goes away on itself in days or weeks.

 

What Are The Causes Of Broken Heart Syndrome?

The causes of broken heart syndrome are unknown but a surge of stress hormones could be harmful and could possibly damage the heats of certain people. Broken heart syndrome is often triggered by an overwhelming emotional or physical event. Some triggers of broken heart syndrome are:

  • News of the unexpected death of a loved one
  • A frightening medical diagnosis
  • Domestic abuse
  • Strong arguments
  • A surprise party
  • Having to perform publicly
  • Job loss
  • Divorce
  • Physical stressors like surgery or motor vehicle accident

 

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Broken Heart?

Some of the main indicators of takotsubo cardiomyopathy:

  • Angina (sudden, severe chest pain)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Arrhythmia (irregular beating of the heart)
  • Cardiogenic shock (An inability to pump enough blood that the body needs)
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart failure

 

What Are The Risk Factors Of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy?

Asian and Caucasian postmenopausal women are more susceptible to Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. It is often a person has shown no sign of heart disease and seems to be healthy.

 

How Is Broken Heart Syndrome Diagnosed?

Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECG records electrical signals and detects the irregularities in your heart.
Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram sees if your heart is enlarged or has an abnormal shape.
Blood tests: To determine if there is an increased amount of certain enzymes in their blood
Chest X-ray: To see if your heart is enlarged or has the shape of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This produces a more detailed picture than an x-ray which will help your doctor evaluate your condition.
Coronary angiogram: An in-depth look at your blood vessels

 

Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Stress Cardiomyopathy?

  1. Know that you are experiencing pain.
  2. Accept that you will grieve
  3. Understand your grieving process may be different than others.
  4. Find a caring support group. (family, friends, etc.)
  5. Take care of your physical self, this will help you emotionally.
  6. Know the difference between grief and depression.

Dr. Robert Segal

Broken Heart Syndrome Interview

Manhattan Cardio’s very own Dr. Segal was ointerviewed by ABC News about Broken Heart Syndrome. He had the following to say:

“Broken heart syndrome is a reaction to a surge of stress hormones [that causes] stunning of the heart,” Dr. Robert Segal, a cardiologist and founder of Manhattan Cardiology in New York City, told ABC News.

The illness can manifest in a variety of ways. “Symptoms can vary from chest pain and shortness of breath to palpitations and near-fainting,” Segal explained.

“Usually what treats [broken heart syndrome] is time,” Segal said. Recommending emotional support for grief, he said that “the effects usually wear off within a few days to weeks.”

If you think you have broken heart syndrome please contact Manhattan Cardiology today.

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