Ever heard of someone suffering from a broken heart? Although it might sound like a non-medical term, it is actually a real heart condition.

‘Broken-heart syndrome’ is also known as ‘stress-induced cardiomyopathy’, or more officially takotsubo cardiomyopathy.


As you can tell from the name, this syndrome is a type of cardiomyopathy, a group of diseases that weaken the heart muscle and its ability to pump blood, and affect how electrical impulses spread through the heart.


The syndrome is more common in women than men, mostly occurring in post-menopausal women. It is triggered by severe emotional or physical stress, such as a bereavement, and is thought to be caused by a surge in stress hormones, particularly adrenaline.


The different types of cardiomyopathy affect the heart in different ways. ‘Broken-heart syndrome’ results in a weakening of the left ventricle, which is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood around the body. The condition is very rare, and usually temporary and reversible.

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If you have any concerns regarding your health, please speak to your doctor. You can call NHS 111 for non-urgent medical enquiries or call 999 for urgent, emergency medical attention.


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