Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, sometimes called stress cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome, is usually reversible but can be fatal when compounded by other severe diseases, the American College of Cardiology had been told.
The condition, which typically affects middle aged and older women, has abrupt onset of symptoms and is usually triggered by a stressful event.
It leads to a sudden temporary weakening of the muscle of the heart and was first described in Japan (hence the name takotsubo which means octopus pot).
Dr Scott Sharkey, lead author of the new study into the condition in America, called for guidelines for treating it.
He said: "Although takotsubo cardiomyopathy is typically reversible and has favourable outcomes, we have identified an important subset of patients, particularly those with severe heart failure and low blood pressure, who can have a substantial mortality risk."
He added: "It's also important that physicians are aware this is not a rare a condition, as it is present in nearly 10 percent of women who present to the hospital with suspected heart attacks."
Researchers reviewed 250 takotsubo cardiomyopathy patients seen at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital between 2001 and 2012.
They segregated the patients with particularly severe heart failure and very low pressure who required supportive treatment.
Nine of the 45 died despite aggressive treatment, representing the only takotsubo-related hospital deaths in the 250 patients. Eight of those who died also suffered from a severe non-cardiac condition and one was of advanced years.
Dr Sharkey, a research cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, said there were no guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of these patients and the study could be a starting point.
â€śIt provides a more complete profile of the clinical spectrum of takotsubo and provides useful guidance for the effective management of these acutely ill patients,â€ť he said. â€śGuidelines would be helpful to standardise diagnosis and treatment across varied healthcare settings.â€ť
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