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Jenny Hann doesn't have heart disease and has never had a heart attack. But her 'broken' heart has sent her to intensive care on several occasions — most recently on the day of her grandson's wedding. That morning she woke feeling unwell, but wanted to join her family who were busy with the final preparations for the big day. Before long though she had to return to her accommodation, as her nausea was getting worse and she had sharp pain in her shoulder. "It was really quite bad pain, and I said to my daughter-in-law that I was just going to pop back to my cabin and take some Panadol," she said. "But I didn't get back to them at all because it then progressed, with vomiting and crushing chest pain." Her husband rushed her to a nearby hospital and she was soon transferred to a larger facility. Once there specialists confirmed what she already knew: she had broken-heart syndrome — for the third time.
I have "chronic heart failure", and suffered a heart attack at 35 years old, so i know a lot about heart disease. But i have never heard of the "Broken Heart Syndrome" until today.www.abc.net.au...
Stress cardiomyopathy occurs when the main pumping chamber of the heart fails and balloons with blood. There is a strong relationship between the syndrome and physical or emotional stress, such as death of a loved one, a serious accident, a sudden illness or a natural disaster, hence the name. For instance, 21 cases were diagnosed in just a few days after the 2011 earthquake that occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand. What is not clear is exactly how stress hormones 'stun' the heart, and in almost 30 per cent of cases there is no identifiable trigger. The symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy — arm and chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and loss of consciousness — are similar to those of a heart attack. But unlike heart attack, where a blocked coronary artery affects blood flow to the heart and that can permanently damage the heart muscle, stress cardiomyopathy does not usually cause permanent damage. The heart muscle returns to normal functioning within a week (and often after at least 24 hours in intensive care). Stress cardiomyopathy can still be deadly though, as a large part of the heart muscle is temporarily weakened to the point that it does not pump properly. This reduced function can cause a cardiac arrest — where the heart's electrical system is disrupted so that it stops pumping.
There is a strong relationship between the syndrome and physical or emotional stress, such as death of a loved one, a serious accident, a sudden illness or a natural disaster, hence the name.