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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

What Is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Posted By: Advancing Care

Known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy and takotsubo syndrome, broken heart syndrome first described women who buried their husbands and later experienced heart failure, says Cary Hirsch, MD, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Although female patients over age 75 have the worst prognosis, it can also afflict men and young women.

“We now understand that it’s an unusual form of heart trauma, where the left ventricle suddenly becomes dysfunctional and takes the shape of a Japanese octopus trap [a takotsubo],” he says.

An overwhelming psychological disaster can be one trigger, yet the primary causes remain unknown. The good news: Except for rare cases, the heart muscle almost always heals itself after a few days or months. Symptoms recur in around 10 percent of patients, but no medical therapy can prevent the onset, nor has any genetic marker been identified.

Do you have a health-related question for a WMCHealth physician or specialist? 

Visit us at Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of Westchester Medical Center Health Network, to learn more. Advancing Care. Here.