Complications of Broken Heart Syndrome can Predict Death Risk

Complications of Broken Heart Syndrome can Predict Death Risk

Stressful events of life can often put a strain to your heart.

For example, a large-scale study performed in 2018 has recently confirmed that psychological distress triggered by depression or anxiety may boost the risk of a person towards a stroke and heart attack.

The association between cardiovascular disease and depression is not new. Recently, the researchers identified the biochemical pathways behind this association and the role of stress seemed to be the most prominent.

An adverse cardiovascular event that is triggered by intense stress is broken heart syndrome. It is a rare disease mimicking the symptoms of a heart attack. It usually affects women more than men.

People suffering from broken heart syndrome, also known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, tend to experience an intense, sudden pain in the chest along with extreme shortness of breath.

This seems like a situation similar to a heart attack. However, broken heart syndrome does not lead to blockage of arteries.

Instead, this condition involves enlargement of heart which is then not able to pump the blood correctly. Some researchers tend to believe that stress-induced hormones, generated as a response to extremely stressful emotions like anger, grief, or surprise, trigger this effect.

Broken heart syndrome can be potentially fatal. However, most of the people that fall a victim to this disease recover within a few weeks.

Almost one out of every ten people develop complications, for example, cardiogenic shock. This occurs when your heart is not able to pump sufficient blood to the rest of your body.

The new research aimed at examining the risk of premature mortality in individuals who developed cardiogenic shock as a consequence of broken heart syndrome.

The leader of the research team was Dr. Christian Templin who is the head of acute cardiac care at the University Hospital Zurich’s Heart Center located in Switzerland.

The new study is said to appear in Circulation, the journal of the AHA.

Higher Risk on a Long- and Short-term Basis

Dr Templin and his team accessed information from the biggest database relevant to broken heart syndrome. It was the International Takotsubo Registry.

The researchers went through information about 198 people who acquired cardiogenic shock as a result of the syndrome. They made comparisons of this data with the data of 1880 people who had this syndrome but did not develop the complication.

The average age of the former group was around 63.4 years. The average age of the latter was around 67.2 years.

The results revealed that people who develop cardiogenic shock as a result of broken heart syndrome are usually suffering from two-fold high levels of physical stress.

The stressful event can be a surgical procedure or asthma, for instance.

Moreover, the patients suffering from cardiogenic shock are more likely to die in the hospital or during the 5 years after developing this syndrome.


Specifically speaking, 23.5 percent of the population under study that developed cardiogenic shock died in the hospital. As compared to this, only 2.3 percent of those who did not develop the complication.

An arrhythmia, an abnormality in the left ventricle of the heart, or a previous history of smoking or diabetes were also prevalent in the group who developed cardiogenic shock. Diabetes and smoking are considered to be common risk factors for heart disease.

Finally, the results indicated that the patients who developed cardiogenic shock were more likely to get through the initial episode if they are promptly provided with cardiac mechanical support.

To read more about the study, click here,



Nancy holds a Pharmacy degree from University of Michigan and Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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