Broken Heart Syndrome Is More About Stress Than Broken Hearts, Study Suggests


Sumary of Broken Heart Syndrome Is More About Stress Than Broken Hearts, Study Suggests:

  • David Goehring, Heartbreak hurts, and it’s not hard to imagine that it could take a physical toll on the body..
  • Colloquially called broken heart syndrome, Takotsubo syndrome has been associated with severely stressful events like the loss of a spouse or child..
  • Takotsubo syndrome is a rare, usually temporary condition affecting the heart’s left ventricle, the chamber that pumps oxygenated blood to the body..
  • a stress response occurs, it leads to production of catecholamines, the neurohormones of stress, and those stress hormones can cause injury to the heart cells and ischemia, or decreased blood supply, by affecting blood vessels around the heart,”.
  • Acute stressors typically lead to Takotsubo, but Ahmed Tawakol, senior author of the new study, and his team wanted to see whether chronic stress might prime people for the syndrome..
  • To figure out the role of chronic stress, the research team needed to identify patients with Takotsubo syndrome..
  • They also needed to look at the stress-related brain activity of those patients before they developed the syndrome..
  • The scientists searched through the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital patient data registry, looking at records from 2005-2019 to see if they could find patients who had underwent brain imaging and later developed Takotsubo..
  • The selected patients underwent PET/CT scans (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) with a radioactive tracer called fluorodeoxyglucose, similar to the sugar glucose..
  • said Nehal Mehta, the principal investigator of the Lab of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute..
  • Most of the participants had cancer or suspected cancer, which is why they were getting these scans in the first place..
  • The team analyzed 41 PET/CT scans from the participants who developed Takotsubo and compared them with 63 scans from people who did not have the heart condition, but were similar in age, sex, race and overall health..
  • Looking at the scans, the team saw that high activity in the amygdala relative to other parts of the brain was associated with Takotsubo syndrome..
  • They also saw that some patients developed Takotsubo after minor stressors, like foot fractures or colonoscopies, as opposed to more serious events..
  • They found that after their PET/CT scan, those with the highest amygdala activity developed the syndrome two years sooner, on average….

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