Broken Heart Syndrome - Risk factors for potentially lethal heart failure

Takotsubo syndrome is also known as "broken heart syndrome". As a syndrome, the syndrome was described in 1990. The causes of the disease are not yet clear and treatment should therefore be symptom-based.

In most cases, the condition is preceded by an emotionally painful situation such as the loss of a loved one or bullying in the workplace. But even situations of extraordinary physical stress such as an operation, a fall or a stroke can trigger Broken Heart syndrome. In recent years, it has also been shown that extremely positive events such as marriage or lottery winnings trigger Takotsubo syndrome. Most are women.

No heart attack and still dangerous

The disease is a sudden, often severe, disturbance of the pumping function of the heart. Therefore, the disease is often first suspected of having a heart attack. After the acute phase, most patients recover in a few weeks or months. However, about 10% of patients experience a cardiogenic shock in the acute phase associated with the condition, a potentially lethal complication in which the heart suddenly pumps too little blood through the body. Up to five percent of patients with cardiogenic shock die.

Researchers at the University Hospital of Zurich have found out which Takotsubo patients have an increased risk of suffering from a cardiogenic shock and if long-term consequences will occur for those affected.

The world registry brings to light the risk factors

For their study, the researchers were able to replicate on the data collected in the InterTAK register. This first global Takotsubo registry was established in 2011 at the University Heart Center of the University Hospital of Zurich for further research on Takotsubo syndrome. More than 40 cardiovascular centers from 20 countries are now involved in the registry; is directed by Prof. dr. med. Dr. rer. nat. Christian Templin, Interventional Cardiologist and Head of Acute Cardiology at USZ.
"Thanks to the study, we now know which patients Takotsubo develop a cardiogenic shock in the acute phase of the disease and should therefore be closely monitored.These patients also show an increased risk in the long run and should therefore be monitored permanently for their progression", Christian Templin summarizes the results So far, little was known about these risk factors and no patients were observed without abnormalities after Takotsubo's disease. "The diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of patients have again taken a significant step forward with this study".

scientific contact:
Prof. Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat. Christian Templin, Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Zurich,

idw 2018/11

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