Broken heart syndrome is real. In an interview with the Health Channel, Dr. Lauren Frost, Cardiologist with Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, describes what broken heart syndrome is and what causes it.
Dr. Frost says that the technical term for broken heart syndrome is Takotsubo or stress cardiomyopathy. Dr. Frost describes it as a condition unique to post-menopausal women who have had an extremely tragic event happen to them such as the death of a loved one or a traumatic incident, like a car accident or natural disaster. The heart muscle dilates, making the heart muscle weaken. The amount of fluid your heart pumps, also known as the ejection fraction, can diminish down to about 10 percent during an acute episode of broken heart syndrome.
Essentially, the stress of a devastating event such as this could present itself as heart attack-like symptoms. Some of these symptoms include acute chest pain and shortness of breath, just like a heart attack. It even medically presents like a heart attack, “you’ll see positive cardiac enzymes, you’ll see EKG changes,” Dr. Frost explains. In the emergency room patients will get treated as though they are having a heart attack and get rushed to the cardiac catheterization lab. “But once you’re at the cath lab, there’s no coronary disease or not enough to explain what they’re seeing. Everyone takes a breath, and they call it Takotsubo or broken heart,” Dr. Frost says.
The good news is that if women survive the acute episode and are diagnosed and treated, it is very likely that the heart can be restored to normal function. All a patient suffering from a broken heart needs is good medical supervision and care and they will most likely fully recover. Fortunately, the disease is being recognized more and awareness is being spread of this strange condition.
To watch the full segment of Dr. Lauren Frost explaining what broken heart syndrome is, visit: https://youtu.be/Y8-ibhrkVuU