Deadly lovesickness - stroke from a broken heart

Increased risk of stroke in broken heart syndrome

Tragic events such as the loss of a close family member can result in so-called broken heart syndrome, which in turn leads to an increased risk of various symptoms. According to a study by scientists from the University Medical Center Mannheim, this also includes an increased risk of stroke.

The risk of suffering a stroke within five years is significantly higher in stress cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome than after a heart attack, the researchers at the University Medical Center Mannheim reported at the annual conference of the German Society for Cardiology - Heart - und Kreislaufforschung eV (DGK) from their study results. The study was carried out on patients from the University Medical Center Mannheim, German Center for Cardiovascular Research, who were followed up over a period of five years.

What is broken heart syndrome?

Broken-heart syndrome is also known as stress cardiomyopathy or takotsubo syndrome and describes an "acute onset, temporary functional disorder of the heart", the DGK announced. For most of those affected, this occurs as a result of severe emotional stress, although the exact causes remain unclear. Women are affected more often than men and the syndrome can also recur.

Mortality comparable to that of an acute heart attack

Although stress cardiomyopathy has been associated with various complications such as thromboembolism, cardiogenic shock or rhythm disturbances and increased mortality, "the prognosis of Takotsubo syndrome was previously considered to be favorable," says Dr. Ibrahim El-Battrawy from the University Medical Center Mannheim at the DGK annual conference. However, recent studies have shown that those affected have the same mortality rate as patients with an acute heart attack.

Significantly increased risk of stroke

The study by the Mannheim scientists also showed that "the long-term incidence of stroke after five years was significantly higher in patients with Takotsubo syndrome (6.5 percent) than in patients with heart attack (3.2 percent)," reports Dr . Ibrahim El-Battrawy. Interestingly, more patients in the group with stress myocardiopathy than in the heart attack group had carcinomas, said Dr. El-Battrawy continues. Possible associations should now be clarified in further studies.

What are the effects of other diseases?

According to the researchers, no connection to broken heart syndrome was found in other diseases examined. "A comparison of comorbidities and comorbidities such as atrial fibrillation, lung diseases, diabetes mellitus, obesity and high blood pressure did not make any relevant difference," said the DGK announcement of the lecture at the annual conference in Mannheim. The conference runs until Saturday and a total of more than 8,500 active participants are expected. (fp)

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