“Broken Heart” is not a Myth, but a Real Syndrome. The Mortal Danger behind It

Did you believe so far that ‘broken heart’ is just another myth, like many other things in life? According to scientists, this issue represents a real mortal syndrome. According to 20minutes.fr, Charles Aznavour has been singing a very popular song for 50 years, entitled “Mourir d’aimer”. His chorus is very popular and doctors keep analyzing it attentively.

In the cardiology domain, when pain is caused by love-related issues, we are talking about ‘tako tsubo’ or heart stress. A few cardiologists tried to discover if there is a relation between cardiac pathology and heart stress (‘broken heart’ or ‘tako tsubo’ – just like we mentioned its two other naming above).

There was a study initiated at the beginning of last September in which participated a team of 26 researchers from the hospital of Zurich. This study has been later published in the magazine New England Journal of Medicine and the research has been performed on more than 1,750 patients. The purpose of this study was to improve the diagnosing of this pathology.

2% of the patients who already suffered a heart attack could be affected by the ‘broken heart’ syndrome.  80% of the affected patients are represented by women older than 60 years, but the interesting fact was that they already dealt with love problems, the loss of a beloved person, huge emotional stress or break-up in a relationship. “Following an annoying fact or emotional stress, the patient felt a strong pain in the chest, similar to heart attack. The pain radiates into the jaw and arms”, says Claire Mounier-Vehier, cardiologist, president of French Cardiology Federation.

When a patient is transported to the emergency department, an electrocardiogram is performed on him/her, but the anomalies don`t correspond with a classic heart attack because the coronary vessels are not affected. Specific lesions are possible to detect only with a cardiac MRI examination. The nervous system acts on the heart muscle and causes paralysis of the lower part of the heart that is unable to contract. Its lower part remains inert and takes the form of what the Japanese name “tako tsubo”, a traditional trap for octopus or more simply, a rugby ball.

The reason why women are more predisposed to this syndrome than men hasn’t been scientifically discovered yet. According to the cardiologist doctor we mentioned above, this syndrome can be best associated with women dealing with menopause or situated in the premenopausal state. “Estrogen protects against the impact of stress hormones. At menopause however hormones disappear and the arteries are smoother”, which would make women more susceptible to this violent pathology, she shows.

Another expert considers that death risk caused by this syndrome remains small because there are only 3.7% of the patients who lose their lives because of this syndrome, while conventional heart attacks require the death of 5.3% of its victims. Failure is not associated with this syndrome itself; it is rather the cause of another serious illness or complication, such as cardiac arrest caused by heart rhythm disorder, blood clots and similar other conditions.

Once getting the ‘broken heart’ syndrome, it used to disappear within one to 3 months following the accident. Things are however completely different from the moral point of view, because nobody found the right recovery method so far that helps people, after losing their loved ones.

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“Broken Heart” is not a Myth, but a Real Syndrome. The Mortal Danger behind It