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With broken heart syndrome, the heart has trouble pumping blood normally. A chamber of the heart swells up like a small balloon. Broken heart syndrome is also called takotsubo (say "TACK-uh-zoo-boh") syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy (say "kar-dee-oh-my-AWP-uh-thee").
Broken heart syndrome is often triggered by great emotional stress, such as grief after losing a loved one. It can also be triggered by physical stress, such as having a serious health problem. Sometimes the cause is not known.
Broken heart syndrome causes the same symptoms as a heart attack, but it's not a heart attack. Some of the most common symptoms are:
Other symptoms may include a pounding or fast heartbeat, nausea, or vomiting.
A heart attack is caused by a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries. These arteries supply the heart muscle with blood. But broken heart syndrome isn't caused by blocked coronary arteries.
You will likely take medicines for a short time to help your heart muscle recover. These may include medicines that make it easier for your heart to pump blood. Some people may need to take medicines long-term.
In most people, the heart starts pumping normally again within a few days or weeks. For some people, it can take several months to return to normal.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: April 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Stephen Fort MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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