From a medical perspective, a person can really suffer from a broken heart. At least one person is afflicted by this condition, according to an expert.
University of Washington Medicine cardiologist Dr. Zachary Goldberger says the broken heart syndrome is the weakening of the muscles of the heart or acute stress-induced cardiomyopathy.
This condition that has similar symptoms with a heart attack is difficult to diagnose.
A patient with a broken heart syndrome can experience chest pains, shortness of breath, and electrocardiography changes.
Patients who have a broken heart syndrome have ECG that changes from time to time and are very similar to that of the heart attack.
"Only after the heart attack has been ruled out are we starting to entertain this diagnosis of this broken heart syndrome, which is more medically called stress cardiomyopathy," says Goldberger.
Symptoms Of Broken Heart Syndrome
"It's definitely real. It's a weakening of the heart muscle that's often precipitated by people who have undergone physical and emotional stress. Typically, it's very short lived but it can persist and can cause serious pathology," says Goldberger.
Symptoms of broken heart syndrome can begin within minutes to hours after experiencing severe and unexpected stress. The death of a loved one is among the most often cause of broken heart syndrome.
Patients may also experience low blood pressure, fainting, irregular heartbeat, and cardiogenic shock or the condition wherein the heart cannot pump enough blood for the body's need.
Broken heart syndrome is also known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy as a reference to the condition that was first reported in Japan in 1990.
Based on a research, when a person experiences sudden emotional stress, the apical section of the heart balloons. The left ventricle of the heart changes shape and enlarges.
Although the condition is only temporary and reversible, a broken heart syndrome can cause heart failure if the heart is not able to pump blood for the body.
Who Are Prone To Broken Heart Syndrome?
Anyone above the age of 50 years is at high risk of broken heart syndrome. Women in their 60s to 70s are more prone to the condition than men, especially those who experience emotional or physical stress and economic hardship. A good shock such as winning a lottery can also result to this condition.
A patient needs to undergo an ECG and a blood test to determine the presence of broken heart syndrome.
Sometimes an angiogram test is recommended to thoroughly examine the coronary arteries. If the left ventricle is enlarged or has changed shape, a broken heart syndrome diagnosis is positive.
However, unlike patients suffering a heart attack, patients with the broken heart don't have blockage in the coronary arteries.
Echocardiogram and cardiac MRI scan can also determine the syndrome.
Treatment For Patients
In the early stages of a broken heart syndrome, patients can receive treatment for a heart attack, including aspirin. Other medicine can be administered until the heart returns to normal.
Patients are expected recover from broken heart syndrome within weeks.