Broken heart syndrome for all

Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition brought on by stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one. People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they’re having a heart attack. These broken heart syndrome symptoms may be brought on by the heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones. In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the remainder of the heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions.

The condition was originally called takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Today, it’s also referred to as stress cardiomyopathy, stress-induced cardiomyopathy or apical ballooning syndrome.

The symptoms of broken heart syndrome are treatable, and the condition usually reverses itself in about a week.


The exact cause of broken heart syndrome is unclear. It’s thought that a surge of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, might temporarily damage the hearts of some people.
Some potential triggers of broken heart syndrome are:

News of an unexpected death of a loved one
A frightening medical diagnosis
Domestic abuse
Losing a lot of money
A surprise party
Having to perform publicly
Physical stressors, such as an asthma attack, infection, a car accident or major surgery

Risk factors:

Broken heart syndrome affects women far more often than men. It appears that most people who have broken heart syndrome are women 50 or older.


Disruptions in your heartbeat
A fast or slow heartbeat
Backup of fluid into your lungs (pulmonary edema)
In rare cases, broken heart syndrome is fatal.


Personal history and physical exam:your doctor will want to know if you’ve experienced any major stresses recently, such as the death of a loved one.
Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECG records these electrical signals and can help your doctor detect irregularities in your heart’s rhythm and structure.
Chest X-ray/Echocardiogram: Your doctor may also order an echocardiogram to see if your heart is enlarged or has an abnormal shape, a sign of broken heart syndrome.
Blood tests. Most people who have broken heart syndrome have an increased amount of certain enzymes in their blood.

Treatments and drugs:

There are no standard treatment guidelines for treating broken heart syndrome. Once it’s clear that broken heart syndrome is the cause of your symptoms, your doctor will likely prescribe heart medications for you to take while you’re in the hospital, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers or diuretics. These medications help reduce the workload on your heart while you recover and may help prevent further attacks.


There’s a chance that broken heart syndrome can happen again after a first episode. There’s no proven therapy to prevent additional episodes; however, many doctors recommend long-term treatment with beta blockers or similar medications that block the potentially damaging effects of stress hormones on the heart. Managing stress in your life is also important.

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