Despite its cinematic-sounding title, “broken-heart syndrome” is actually a real illness — and now researchers have found proof that it’s related to the second leading cause of death worldwide: cancer.
Takotsubo syndrome (TTS), because it’s formally known, was first acknowledged by scientists in Japan in 1990 and causes signs similar to sudden chest ache, shortness of breath, and low blood pressure. Harvard Medical School describes it as a sudden “weakening of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber.”
Of the 1,604 sufferers with TTS who were studied, one in six had cancer — and, maybe relatedly, were far much less likely to survive for five years after it occurred. The commonest cancer amongst individuals —87 % of whom had been women — was breast, however, included cancers affecting other parts of the body, such as the skin and gastrointestinal system. The sufferers with cancer and TTS had been “extra likely to have experienced a physical trigger (such as medical intervention or physical trauma) prior to the syndrome,” than TTS sufferers without cancer.
In a press release from the American Heart Association, lead author of the study Christian Templin, M.D., Ph.D., means that those that experience the signs of TTS — which can mimic a heart attack — be vigilant. “Sufferers with broken heart syndrome would possibly benefit if screened for cancer to improve their overall survival,” mentioned Templin, who’s the director of Interventional Cardiology of the Andreas Grüntzig Heart Catheterization Laboratories at the University Heart Center Zurich at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland.