Broken Heart Syndrome: What Happens?

Broken Heart Syndrome

What the heck is Broken Heart Syndrome?!?  – Erin Stair, MD, MPH

When I first heard about Broken Heart Syndrome, I was beyond intrigued. An actual medical diagnosis? If true…it was a concrete example of something that is often depicted in art: The heart as the center of emotion.

Countless songs, poems, movies and books are about heartbreaks. We often hear people talk about their broken hearts. Maybe your heart has been broken before, maybe it’s breaking now. I’ve experienced several heartbreaks over the years, and just like your heartbreak experience, mine was Hell too. Each one makes you a little bit stronger…but it’s also true that you never really get over them. You just learn how to move on. When I think about my heartbreaks in the context of Broken Heart Syndrome, I wonder if any anatomical or phyiological changes happened to my heart, and I just didn’t know it? I think about how my heart will inevitably break in the future, and if I’ll experience Broken Heart Sydrome then. Hey, I can talk a tough game online, but at the end of the day, I’m ridiculously sensitive: Not so much to insults or verbal-jabs, but to the idea of losing someone or something that I love.

While songs, poems and stories about heartbreak are not to be taken literally and are mere expressions for how many of us will feel at some point in time…, Broken Heart Syndrome is an ACTUAL medical condition. It’s sometimes called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stress cardiomyopathy, and it’s linked to states of  high mental or physical distress. For example, losing a spouse, a child, a pet, being dumped, losing a job…those stinging, unavoidable moments that define being alive.

On an episode of my podcast,Causes or Cures, Dr. Antonio Abbate, a cardiologist who has researched it and treats patients with it, chats with me about all-things Broken Heart Syndrome. He describes what it is, in simple terms, why it happens and when, who is most at risk, how you diagnose and treat it and what your chances are of getting it more than once. He’ll also talk about interesting cases he’s seen and risk factors you wouldn’t think about.

This is a fascinating discussion that will make you think differently next time you hear someone’s heart is broken. I learned a lot, and I have to tell you guys, this has blossomed into one of my more popular podcasts! It makes sense. There are a lot of people out there who feel heartbroken.

To listen to my podcast with Dr. Abbate, please click here. I also encourage you to subscribe to my podcast and please feel free to review it! I am not a podcast-person or a podcast guru or whatever….but I’m fairly certain you can “rate” my podcast on Apple, Spotify, etc.  But, errr, don’t quote me on that. ;)

Hope you listen the the scoop on Broken Heart Syndrome, hope it brings you some understanding or comfort, and hope you stay healthy,


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