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Broken heart syndrome goes beyond emotional pain

Dr. Sherry Grace
Dr. Sherry Grace, senior scientist, Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Toronto Rehab, speaks to CTV’s Your Morning about the cause and effects of broken heart syndrome. (CTV)

The effects of heartbreak can go beyond emotional pain according to a study from researchers at the University of Aberdeen.

Takotsubo syndrome, or broken heart syndrome, is usually caused by intense emotional stress such as the death of a loved one or a relationship conflict. The heart muscle is temporarily weakened, causing damage to the heart's left ventricle which pumps blood to the body. ​

Dr. Sherry Grace, senior scientist, Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Toronto Rehab, and professor at York University, was interviewed by host Ben Mulroney for CTV's Your Morning about the condition.

"People who have broken heart syndrome will have the classic chest pain and they'll head to the hospital thinking they're having a heart attack," said Dr. Grace. "The doctors will notice that there aren't blockages in [the] arteries that serve their heart muscle with oxygenated blood as you would normally see."

The effects of the syndrome were previously thought be temporary but the study has shown that the weakened heart function may last for months.

The study was published in the Journal of The American Society of Echocardiography.​

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