Separation, deaths, existential fears or extreme happiness – emotional stress can break a heart. The organ suffers from massive dysfunction. The clinical picture is called Takotsubo Syndrome and is also known as “Broken Heart Syndrome”.
In the beginning, everything indicates a heart attack. People with Takotsubo syndrome have typical symptoms such as restlessness, chest pain, or shortness of breath. Even the blood count shows an increase in the level of certain enzymes – a classic indication of a heart attack.
A closer look at the muscles, for example with the help of a cardiac catheter, shows that there are no related blockages of the coronary arteries, as is the case with a heart attack. Heart muscle damage also does not occur in broken heart syndrome. It is estimated that about 2% of patients are diagnosed with a heart attack, which is the broken heart syndrome.
Takotsubo syndrome is thought to be caused by excess stress hormones in the body. That is why doctors refer to the syndrome as stress cardiomyopathy. as a result Stress hormone Spasms of the heart muscles. The main pumping chamber is expanding and the organ cannot be pumped properly.
Broken heart syndrome is often hereditary
The causes of Takotsubo syndrome have not been clearly elucidated. However, researchers now agree that there are genetic causes as to whether someone is at increased risk. Some people are more likely to experience such an event because their heart cells are more sensitive to stress hormones. In addition, the pumping disorder often occurs if it has already occurred in the family. There are cases around the world where many family members, most of whom are siblings or twin siblings, have developed Broken Heart Syndrome. Such seizures also occur more frequently in five to ten percent of patients, which also indicates genetic involvement.
Women are particularly affected
It is noted that the disease occurs in about 90% of cases in postmenopausal women. At this point in life, loss of a partner often occurs, which may be a trigger for broken heart syndrome. Profuse emotional reactions, for better or worse, can be the cause of impaired pumping function. If winning the lottery or a wedding, for example, is the trigger, it is referred to as Happy Heart Syndrome. Extreme physical stress such as operations or accidents can lead to Takotsubo syndrome.
Das Takotsubo Syndrome
The clinical picture of Takotsubo syndrome was first described in the 1990s by Japanese doctors Keigo Dote and Hikaru Sato. It is named after a traditional Japanese octopus trap in the form of a mud pitcher inflated with a narrow neck. Doctors viewed the strange shape of the left ventricle at the end of systole, which reminds us of this, as the result of a disturbance in the circulation of the heart muscle.
Source: German Center for Cardiovascular Research H. Fifth.
Takotsubo Syndrome: This is the medical term for broken heart syndrome. The left ventricle is distorted and looks like a traditional Japanese octopus tako tsubo trap. (Source: t-online.de, Benjamin Springstrow)
The acute phase can be very dangerous
If broken heart syndrome does occur, sufferers should be monitored immediately by intensive care medicine, as heart dysfunction can lead to what’s called cardiogenic shock. In this condition, the heart pumps too little blood through the body so that the body is not adequately supplied with blood and oxygen. It could be fatal. This shock is also a known cause of death after severe heart attacks. However, studies have shown that patients who survive cardiogenic shock have an increased risk of death. Therefore, long-term monitoring is especially necessary for this group of patients.
Once the acute phase is over, the majority of patients recover from the accident within a few weeks or months without any subsequent damage.
This is how the broken heart syndrome is treated
The operation is not necessary. In Takotsubo syndrome, doctors only make sure that the stress hormone load in the body is low. Additionally, patients are given hormone-reducing medications. They are also given beta blockers to calm the heart.
Broken heart syndrome is more common than expected
In recent years, it has been found that broken heart syndrome is not so rare as previously assumed. “Today we assume that three to five percent of all so-called heart attack patients have not had a heart attack at all, but rather of stress cardiomyopathy,” says Professor Dr. Ingo Etl is a cardiologist at the Heart Center in Lübeck.
important note: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized physicians. The contents of t-online cannot and should not be used to independently make diagnoses or initiate treatment.