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Yes your heart can literally break!

Broken heart syndrome or Takotsubo Syndrome (Stress Cardiomyopathy)



Dr Sampurna Roy MD


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Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is also known as broken heart syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy.

"Takotsubo syndrome" was first described by the Japanese authors Dote and Sato in the 1990s.

It is a very interesting syndrome characterized by transient left ventricular dysfunction, electrocardiographic changes, and release of myocardial enzymes that mimic acute myocardial infarction in patients without angiographic evidence of coronary artery disease.

Broken heart syndrome is usually associated with intense physical and/or emotional stress.

In some cases there is psychogenic or dissociative amnesia.

It is a memory disorder characterized by sudden retrograde memory loss with inability to recall personal information.

The mechanism of both disorders has been linked to plasma elevation in catecholamines.



The left ventricle shows marked abnormalities with akinesia in the mid-distal anterior wall and apex giving a balloon shape to the left ventricle.

Takotsubo  (in Japanese, "tako" means octopus and "tsubo" means pot. Takotsubo is the pot that Japanese fishermen use as an octopus trap.

In Takotsubo cardiomyopathy the left ventricle takes the shape of Takotsubo.

This form of cardiomyopathy can be easily reversed.

Wall motion abnormality of the LV apex is usually transient and resolves within a few days to several weeks. Its prognosis is generally good.

However, there are some reports of serious complications, including hypotension, heart failure, ventricular rupture and thrombosis. 

Visit: Cardiac Pathology Online


Further reading:

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy: can hearts really break?

Lost memories can break your heart: a case report of transient global amnesia followed by takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

Forgetting heart break: a fascinating case of transient left ventricular apical ballooning syndrome associated with dissociative amnesia.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy--a clinical review.

The broken heart syndrome: Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy: Pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment.

Transient global amnesia and broken heart syndrome: two faces of one pathology.

Tako-Tsubo syndrome: dying of a broken heart?


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Dr  Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)







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