Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Case of a Broken Heart

You know, the words "broken heart" have some truth to them. There is a medical condition that has been known to be caused by emotional stress, such as a break-up, a loved one dying or anxiety. This medical condition affects the heart and is called Takotsubo syndrome or cardiomyopathy. This  condition causes a temporary weakening of the heart that leads to heart failure and EKG changes, and the patient may have chest pain or shortness of breath. 

So, whats with the funny name? The syndrome is named after a pot in Japan that the people used to catch octopus in. A lot of times, the shape that the heart has after having this disease resembles the shape of the Japanese pot. The shape can be recognized on a widely used study of the heart called an echocardiogram. 

"A" is pointing to the problem on an echocardiogram.
The heart "balloons" out at the bottom, which increases
the risk for rupture and arrhythmias.
Why is this condition bad? Well, typically most people survive this condition, and their heart function returns back to normal or near-normal in a matter of months. However, the acute phase of the disease may be fatal from arrhythmias, acute heart failure or rupture of part of the heart.

"A" is a picture of a patient with Takotsubo. "B" is a photo of
the Japanese pot. See a resemblence?
What's the lesson for today?...keep your heart not only physically healthy...but emotionally healthy too!

Until next time....

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