New study reveals Broken Heart Syndrome could have damaging effects on the heart

23rd June 2017

A new study reveals that the "broken heart syndrome" or also referred to as takotsubo syndrome may have longer-lasting damaging effects on the heart. Until now, it was thought the heart fully recovered from the syndrome, but new research suggests the muscle actually suffers long-term damage.

The study was printed in the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography, and originally led by researchers from Aberdeen University.

In the U.K., about 3,000 people suffer from this syndrome each year. It mostly affects women than men. The broken heart syndrome is caused by severe emotional distress such as the death of a loved one or bereavement. It is thought that this syndrome could cause temporary heart failure. Until now, it was thought the heart fully recovered from the syndrome, but new research suggests the muscle actually suffers long-term damage.

The study involved 52 people diagnosed with takotsubo syndrome. The researchers have examined them over the course of four months. They looked at how their hearts were functioning by using ultrasound and cardiac MRI scans. The results suggest that the condition permanently altered the pumping motion of the heart, delaying the twisting by the heart during a heartbeat.

They also found that the heart's squeezing motion was also reduced. Meanwhile, some parts of the heart muscle suffered scarring that had an impact on the elasticity of the heart, which inhibited the heart from contracting properly.

Dr. Dana Dawson, the lead author of the study from the University of Aberdeen, said that they used to think that people who suffered from takotsubo cardiomyopathy would likely recover fully without medication. On the other hand, they have shown that this condition has much longer-lasting damaging effects on the hearts of those who suffer from it.

The figures indicate that between 3 percent and 17 percent of patients die within five years of diagnosis. The stress trigger is seen in about 70 percent cases. Experts urge the need to find effective treatments for this damaging condition.