Shocking news, such as learning of the unexpected death of a loved one, has been known to cause catastrophic events, such as a heart attack.
Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that sudden emotional stress can also result in severe but reversible heart muscle weakness that mimics a classic heart attack. Patients with this condition, called stress cardiomyopathy but known colloquially as âbroken heartâ? syndrome, are often misdiagnosed with a massive heart attack when, indeed, they have suffered from a days-long surge in adrenalin (epinephrine) and other stress hormones that temporarily âstunâ? the heart.
âOur study should help physicians distinguish between stress cardiomyopathy and heart attacks,â? says study lead author and cardiologist Ilan Wittstein, M.D., an assistant professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute. âAnd it should also reassure patients that they have not had permanent heart damage.â?
âBROKEN HEARTâ? SYNDROME: REAL, POTENTIALLY DEADLY BUT RECOVERY QUICK