KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While COVID-19 cases are plummeting around the country and in the Kansas City metro, doctors are seeing a rise in another case. It’s called “Broken Heart Syndrome” and it has nothing to do with a bad break-up.
Health experts say it can be triggered by sudden stressful or emotional situations.
Many people might think Broken Heart Syndrome only impacts people dealing with a bad break-up or you’re just really sad. But this disease is real and serious and since the pandemic doctors are seeing more cases of it.
Locally, cardiologists at both Saint Luke’s Hospital and University Health have seen cases of Broken Heart Syndrome.
“Broken Heart Syndrome is a condition where there is overwhelming stress on the heart, which we know our heart is this amazing muscle,” said Dr. Tracy Stevens a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Hospital.
While it’s triggered by sudden, emotional stress, anger or fear. The pandemic is playing a role in the surge of cases.
“The mechanism of the broken heart syndrome is not definite, but it’s a postulated mechanism, that when someone goes through a big stressor in life, their hormonal activity, their nerve, nerve hormones are, are so ramped up, that they almost cause a toxic injury to the heart,” Dr. Paramdeep Baweja, a cardiologist for University Health, said
Often the symptoms mimic a heart attack, there’s chest pain and shortness of breath.
“It’s a bombardment of the adrenaline to the heart, where it transiently causes failure,” Stevens said.
So what makes a heart attack and a broken heart condition different?
“When we go into look at the arteries of the heart to see if there’s any blockages. This is an angiogram a heart angiogram. We don’t find any conference; we don’t find any blockages,” Baweja said.
Cardiologists are finding it is more common in women, but it’s unclear why.
“It does seem to be much more common in women than men, nine to one. And the common findings we see it’s often that postmenopausal woman, more so than pre-menopausal. And so, the difference there is lack of the hormones we had prior to menopause,” Stevens said.
The good news, this condition seems to be only temporary.
“So the majority recovered, that main pump comes back to its normal shape, normal function, the strength of the heart returns, but we need to follow that person closely,” Stevens said.
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