Emotional stress can damage the heart
The stress not only literally hits the heart of a few people, but also physically. Patients then react with symptoms that are very similar to an infarction. The so-called broken heart syndrome is more dangerous than previously thought. It can even be life-threatening.
"It broke her heart" - so they say. Those who suffer from lovesickness suffer from heartache. There are scenes in some older films in which a person collapses with his hand on his heart in grief. The doctors have only recently learned that this can also happen in reality. Broken-heart syndrome only became known 20 years ago. 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 in their investigation that the so-called Tako-Tsubo syndrome (broken heart syndrome) can lead to 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 that it does during the heartbeat has been delayed and the squeezing movement of the heart has been reduced," the study authors 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
Until now, it was thought that people with Tako Tsubo syndrome recover completely without medical intervention. However, the study has now shown that "this disease has a much longer-lasting adverse effect on the hearts of those affected than suspected," the researchers said in a statement 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 cardiac 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 full recovery in such people may take much longer, or at worst, not happen at all, the authors say. The results underline the need to "urgently develop new and more effective treatments for the devastating syndrome," the study authors emphasize. (sb, as)