Takotsubo syndrome: a broken heart can also be fatal

Takotsubo syndrome: a broken heart can also be fatal

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Life-threatening risk factors for a broken heart

That someone's heart is broken is not only a saying, but also a medical reality. Takotsubo syndrome, also known as "broken heart syndrome", can even be life-threatening. Researchers have now determined which patients are at increased risk in the short or long term.

Most of those affected recover without consequences

In the early 1990s, the clinical picture Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) was first described by the Japanese doctors Keigo Dote and Hikaru Sato. This disease occurs after a heavy mental stress, such as grief or heartache. Postmenopausal women are mostly affected. The majority of those affected recover without consequences from the illness. But ten percent develop a dangerous complication. A study has now determined which patients are at increased risk for this in the short or long term.

The causes are still unclear

The Takotsubo syndrome was named after a traditional Japanese squid trap in the form of a bulging clay jar with a narrowed neck.

The reminder of the peculiar shape of the left ventricle at the end of systole was considered by the medical profession to be the result of a circulatory disorder in the heart muscle.

The causes of the disease are still not clearly understood and the treatment must therefore be based on the symptoms.

Loss of a loved one makes you sick

Since the disease often arises as a result of severe mental stress, such as the loss of a loved one, emotional stress or grief, it is also colloquially spoken of "broken heart syndrome" ("broken heart syndrome").

Bullying in the workplace or extraordinary physical stressful situations such as surgery, a fall or a stroke can also trigger broken heart syndrome.

It was also shown that extremely positive events such as a wedding or winning the lottery trigger Takotsubo syndrome.

Long-term risks

It is now known in medicine that the disease can lead to long-term heart damage and an increased risk of stroke.

Disease can be fatal
Since the disease appears as a sudden onset, often serious disruption of the heart's pump function, a heart attack is often suspected first.

After the acute phase, most patients recover within weeks or months.

However, around ten percent of patients experience a so-called cardiogenic shock in connection with the disease in the acute phase, a life-threatening complication in which the heart suddenly pumps too little blood through the body.

Up to five percent of patients with cardiogenic shock die from it, reports the University Hospital Zurich (USZ) in a message.

USZ researchers have now found out which Takotsubo patients are at increased risk of suffering from cardiogenic shock and whether this will have long-term consequences for those affected.

Which patients develop cardiogenic shock

The scientists were able to use the data collected in the InterTAK register for their study.

This first global Takotsubo registry was established at the USZ University Heart Center in 2011 to drive research into Takotsubo syndrome.

Over 40 cardiovascular centers from 20 countries are now involved in the registry; it is headed by Prof. Dr. med. rer. nat. Christian Templin, interventional cardiologist and head of acute cardiology at the USZ.

"Thanks to the study, we now know which Takotsubo patients develop cardiogenic shock in the acute phase of the disease and should therefore be monitored closely," said Templin.

"These patients also show an increased risk in the long term and should therefore also be monitored continuously," said the expert.

Little was known about these risk factors and patients without abnormalities were no longer observed after Takotsubo disease.

"The diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of the patients has taken another significant step forward with this study." (Ad)

Author and source information

Video: What causes women to experience broken-heart syndrome? (November 2022).