Can a person die from a broken heart?
The broken heart syndrome is exactly what it sounds. This results when someone close to a person dies. The person experiences so much pain that they die from the broken heart. In technical terms, it is also called stress cardiomyopathy and Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.
A recent study suggests that the cases of broken heart syndrome considerably increased during coronavirus pandemic. The researcher tried to find out what caused the surge in these cases. It might be due to the emotional and economic stress caused by the outbreak. Otherwise, it can also occur due to the social and psychological pressure experienced due to the pandemic.
This study published in JAMA Network Open.
The researchers considered 1.914 patients of acute coronary syndrome for this study. Coronary arteriography is a medical procedure in which the patient’s blood is injected with a tracking dye. This dye tracks the blood flow in the body. The patients involved in this study went through this procedure. The researchers compared the patients from during the pandemic and before the pandemic period.
The study shows that broken heart syndrome cases increased during the pandemic. 20 patients were diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy during the pandemic. This makes an incidence of 7.8 percent for this disease. However, before the pandemic, the incidence was not more than 1.8 percent.
The findings of this study also indicate that the hospital stays became longer for patients during this time. But the mortality rate of the patients remained the same before and after pandemic.
The authors of the study also mentioned that this is a limited study. It should involve a greater population from different states to confirm its findings.
The first case of broken heart syndrome identified nearly 25 years ago in Japan. In 2012, the US reported nearly 6,230 cases of the syndrome. The American Journal of Cardiology conducted a study that showed the cases in the US. Some of the cases became so famous that they appeared in news headlines.
Dr. Harmony Reynolds is a cardiologist and works at the NYU Langone Medical Center. She said that stress cardiomyopathy feels similar to a heart attack. The EKG shows that the person is experiencing a heart attack. Also, the blood test in this condition indicates a heart attack.
Even though it is similar to a cardiac arrest, there are some major differences. For instance, in a heart attack, the arteries of the patient block and the blood cannot pass through. However, in the case of broken heart syndrome, the arteries do not close but rather stay open and allow the blood flow. But the syndrome causes enough damage to the heart that it stops functioning. The damage to the heart in this condition is more severe than a heart attack.
Dr. Reynolds pointed out another major difference between the two conditions. When a person goes through a heart attack, the heart carries some damage to it. However, if the person survives stress cardiomyopathy, the heart becomes completely normal.