STRESS INDUCED CARDIOMYOPATHY
(BROKEN HEART SYNDROME/TAKOTSUBO SYNDROME/APICAL BALLOONING SYNDROME)
We use the expression “broken heart” all the time when there has been an emotional loss, but the stress of losing a loved one can cause cardiovascular issues. Stress induced cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome usually occurs following a particularly stressful event, and is still not fully understood, but it is usually temporary, with symptoms lasting a few days to a few weeks. The symptoms, such as chest pain and difficulty breathing, can mimic a heart attack, but those with broken heart syndrome do not suffer lasting damage to their hearts.
The left ventricle, which pumps the blood can enlarge or change shape, weakening the heart and affecting how effectively it pumps blood. When there has been extremely high levels of stress, adrenaline and other stress hormones can overwhelm the heart, causing the arteries supplying the heart to narrow. This is similar to what happens during a heart attack, when the blood supply to heart muscles is restricted. but is reversible. This also raises the question as to whether those suffering from PTSD are at an increased risk of stress induced cardiomyopathy, due to the circulating adrenaline.
One characteristic of broken heart syndrome which is not present in heart attacks, is the apical ballooning of the left ventricle, which occurs during contraction, causing the middle and the tip of the left ventricle to expand outward.
No definitive cause has been identified, but suggested emotional triggers include:-
Resolving the emotional event that triggered the cardiomyopathy is the most important thing, and learning to manage their stress to prevent the issue from worsening or recurring.
In rare cases, the weakened heart muscle and adrenaline surge may cause:
HOW CAN MASSAGE HELP?