Broken heart syndrome or takotsubo cardiomyopathy is an acute dysfunction of the left ventricle of the myocardium that is most often reversible. It is characterized by the sudden development of heart failure or chest pain, as well as ECG changes similar to those of a heart attack. According to scientists, takotsubo provokes the brain’s reaction to severe stress.
In a new study, a team of US scientists collected data from national hospitals on patients diagnosed with broken heart syndrome between 2006 and 2017. The analysis included medical records of more than 135 thousand people. Experts have found that this condition is mainly detected in women 50-74 years old. Compared to men and younger patients, this demographic suffers from takotsubo cardiomyopathy 6-10 times more often.
The study authors also found a steady increase in new cases of the disease in all patient groups, a trend that appeared long before the pandemic. Again, the most significant increase was found in women over 50 (83.3%). According to scientists, for every man or young woman with this disease, there are 10 middle-aged and older patients.
This was an important finding, because prior to this study, scientists only knew that the disease was diagnosed more often in women than in men. Now it was possible to identify the key risk group. Probably, the reactions of the brain and nervous system of a woman are becoming more susceptible to various stressors, experts say.
“The study further confirms the vital influence of the brain-heart connection in older women,” said study lead author Susan Cheng of the Schmidt Heart Institute.