Joyful events — the birth of a child, a big win for your favourite team — can trigger a dangerous condition called the “broken heart syndrome”, doctors and researchers reported Thursday.
Takotsubo syndrome, as it is also known, involves the sudden weakening of heart muscles, causing the left ventricle — the chamber which pushes oxygen-rich blood through the body — to balloon out abnormally at the bottom.
Besides acute chest pain and shortness of breath, the condition can lead to heart attacks and death.
It has long been known that an unexpected emotional shock — typically something unpleasant, such as the death of a spouse, or a violent argument — can provoke an attack.
But statistics were lacking, and no one had ever investigated, whether, an intensely happy event could give the same result.
In 2011, a pair of researchers in Switzerland — Christian Templin and Jelena Ghadri, both of University Hospital Zurich — set up a global registry to track cases of the syndrome, which is fairly rare.
Five years later, the network of 25 hospitals spread across nine countries had collected data on statistically significant 1,750 cases of the Takotsubo syndrome (TTS).
For the study, Templin and Ghadri, leading a team of 16 researchers, determined that emotional jolts were responsible for 485 of those cases.
And within that group, four percent — a total of 20 individuals — could be said to have suffered from “happy heart syndrome.”
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