A broken heart has lasting effects similar to a heart attack
A CONDITION known as “broken heart syndrome” may leave longer lasting damage than previously thought, experts say.
Around 3 000 people a year in the UK suffer from Takotsubo syndrome, which can be triggered by severe emotional distress, such as the death of a loved one.
Symptoms are similar to a heart attack and the condition, which mostly affects women, is usually diagnosed in hospital.
Until now it was thought the heart fully recovered from the syndrome, but new research suggests the muscle actually suffers long-term damage.
People with the syndrome only tend to have the same life expectancy as those who suffer a heart attack.
The research was published in the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography.
A team from the University of Aberdeen followed 52 Takotsubo patients over the course of four months. They used ultrasound and cardiac MRI scans to look at how the patients’ hearts were functioning.
The results showed that the syndrome permanently affected the heart’s pumping motion, delaying the twisting or “wringing” motion made by the heart during a heartbeat.
The heart’s squeezing motion was also reduced, while parts of the heart muscle suffered scarring, which affected the elasticity of the heart and prevented it from contracting properly. – The Independent