Broken heart syndrome involves long-term risks

Broken heart syndrome can cause complications.

Although broken heart syndrome is less dangerous than a heart attack. However, potentially lethal complications can occur.

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Thu 08 November 2018

Emotions and feelings can actually affect the heart: broken heart syndrome, a dysfunction of the heart, is triggered by severe physical or mental stress. Researchers have now discovered that some patients may still die years later.


About 10% of all people with a broken heart syndrome, also known as Takotsubo syndrome, also suffer from cardiogenic shock. With this, doctors understand a life-threatening situation in which suddenly the heart no longer provides enough blood to the body. Researchers at the University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland discovered for the first time that people with a broken heart syndrome, complicated by cardiogenic shock, were at higher risk of premature death up to five years later. These patients presented the following risk factors:

  • broken heart syndrome has been triggered by physical stress such as surgery or an asthma attack,
  • there was a cardiac arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation) and / or lower stroke volume,
  • X-ray or ultrasound results showed abnormalities in the left ventricle,
  • There were risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes or smoking.

"Thanks to the study, we now know which Takotsubo patients develop cardiogenic shock in the acute phase of the disease and should therefore be monitored intensively, as these patients also show an increased long-term risk and should therefore be monitored over the long term," the director said. of the study and the cardiologist Dr. Christian Templin at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

Broken heart syndrome can cause symptoms similar to a heart attack. However, there is no myocardial damage or arterial occlusion and patients usually recover within a few days or weeks if the patient exceeds the acute life-threatening phase. It is generally believed that broken heart syndrome is caused by stress hormones. In addition to physical stress, triggers can be extremely negative as well as positive experiences such as death or a lottery win.

Risk factors were identified by analyzing data from Takotsubo's largest international register. There were 198 people who suffered from cardiogenic shock compared to 1880 patients without cardiogenic shock, most of whom were women.


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