With Valentine’s Day approaching I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone that broken hearts are very real.
I will never forget a patient of mine that I encountered a few months ago that almost died from a broken heart…Broken Heart syndrome that is. The medical term for this condition is Takotsubo’s Cardiomyopathy (TCM) and it’s pretty lethal since it’s very difficult to diagnose immediately. Our patient pretty much presented with the typical symptoms of chest pain, difficulty breathing, and chest palpitations. The symptoms can mimic that of a heart attack, which is why it is kind of difficult to diagnose this disease. The most unique feature of TCM is that it’s usually triggered by a physically or emotionally stressful event, such as a really bad break up. It’s important to differentiate these patients from your typical patients who are suffering from coronary artery disease. These patients will typically lack the common risk factors for acute coronary disease such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and they will be non-smokers. The gold standard method of diagnosing this disease is with ultrasound showing decreased wall motion of the heart.
Do not worry though, this is extremely rare and only a small percentage of the population are predisposed to this condition, so let the break ups commence!