Dennis Skley / CC BY-ND 2.0

The first large analysis of takotsubo, or “broken-heart syndrome,” shows that the condition can be just as deadly as other cardiovascular diseases — and that most victims are female.

First described in Japan in 1990, the condition was believed to be a largely benign, transient disorder that afflicted older women and that seemed to be triggered by highly stressful events, such as the death of a spouse.

MedPage Today reports:

… takotsubo cardiomyopathy causes the heart to contract abnormally and to take an unusual shape while doing so. “Takotsubo” is a Japanese word for an octopus trap that resembles the heart’s shape during the abnormal contracture. …

The study by Ghadri and colleagues of 1,750 patients from Europe and the United States enrolled in the International Takotsubo Registry appeared in the Sept. 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Our work widens the spectrum of the characteristics of the disease,” Ghadri told MedPage Today in a telephone interview. “This is still largely a disorder of postmenopausal women with emotional stressors, but we also identified patients who were male and younger and physical stressors, such as neurologic disease, were common triggers.”

In the takotsubo study population as a whole, emotional triggers were less common than physical triggers (27.7% vs. 36%), and more than one in four patients (28.5%) had no evident trigger at all.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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