How do strong emotional stress and grief affect our hearts?
Most people have suffered from a broken heart once in their lives after having to endure severe emotional stress. Researchers have now found that broken heart syndrome can actually lead to longer-lasting damage to the heart muscle.
The University of Aberdeen scientists found that so-called Tako-Tsubo syndrome (broken heart syndrome) can cause long-term damage to the heart muscle. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography".
Heart movements were delayed and reduced
In the UK alone, Tako Tsubo syndrome affects around 3,000 people each year. In the current study, a total of 52 Tako-Tsubo patients were medically monitored over a period of four months, the researchers explain. With the help of ultrasound and MRI scans of the heart, the experts found that the disease permanently affects the movements of the heart. The twisting movement of the heart, which does this during the heartbeat, was delayed and the squeezing movement of the heart was reduced, the authors of the study explain.
Long-term survival rates similar to a heart attack
The scientists also found that parts of the heart muscle are replaced by fine scars. This reduces the elasticity of the heart and prevents it from contracting properly, the scientists say. The results of the study could help explain why Takotsubo syndrome leads to long-term survival rates similar to those in people with a heart attack, the scientists say.
Broken-heart syndrome leads to long-lasting damage to the heart
It has previously been assumed that people with Tako-Tsubo syndrome can fully recover without medical intervention. However, the investigation has now shown that this disease has a much longer-lasting adverse effect on the hearts of those affected than suspected, the researchers explain in a press release on the study results.
Disease occurs more often
Recent studies have shown that this disease is not as rare as we previously thought, the authors say. The effects of the so-called broken heart syndrome on the heart of patients are so serious that this topic should be taken seriously.
Recovery can take longer or not happen at all
The study clearly showed that in some patients with Tako Tsubo syndrome, various aspects of heart function are abnormally affected up to a period of four months. It is particularly worrying that the hearts of those affected have some form of scarring. This suggests that complete recovery in such people may take much longer or, at worst, may not occur at all, the authors say. The results emphasize the need to urgently develop new and more effective treatments for this devastating syndrome, the study authors emphasize. (as)