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Clusters of 'broken hearts' may be linked to massive natural disasters
Date:3/27/2014

ed function of the apex and middle segment of the heart and increased contractility of the base producing a balloon-like appearance.

"It's a perfect example of our brain-heart connection," Pant said. "The emotional stress we have in our brain can lead to responses in the heart, and not much is known about this condition."

Of course everyone's threshold for stress is different. There were other natural disasters in 2011. Pant said that because these events occur more frequently in some parts of the country, residents in these regions may have adapted to and experienced less stress during such occurrences; whereas in places like Vermont, where natural disasters are relatively rare, people may be more susceptible to extreme stress when a disaster hits particularly hard.

Hospital admissions for broken heart syndrome have been on the rise, but it is unknown whether the growing numbers are due to clinicians being more aware of the condition, especially since a reimbursement billing code was established for it in 2006, or if there is a true increase in its incidence. Either way, Pant says it is important to identify potential triggers.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy got its name because the abnormal shape of the heart resembles a Japanese octopus fishing pot (tako=octopus, tsubo=pot). Pant says more research is needed to further explore the pathophysiological basis and management of this disease.


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Contact: Beth Casteel
bcasteel@acc.org
202-375-6275
American College of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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