Broken Heart Syndrome is a disorder mostly seen in women as opposed to men where extreme emotional stress can lead to severe (often short term) heart muscle failure. Doctors often mislabel Broken Heart Syndrome as a heart attack because of the similar symptoms such as changes in the heart’s electrical activity that mimics a heart attack. This disorder is still being researched to understand what exactly causes it and how to diagnose it and treat it.

What Are The Symptoms?

  • Sudden Sharp Chest Pain
  • Changes in Electrical Activity in Heart
  • Shortness of Breath: This occurs when your heart cannot pump enough blood to fulfill your body’s needs causing fluid to build up in your lungs making it hard to breath.
  • NOTE: While the symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome are similar to a heart attack, typically the symptoms above can occur minutes or hours afterexperiencing a severe and usually unexpected stress. Fortunately, many of the tests run to identify the roots of the symptoms can correctly differentiate between BHS and a heart attack.

How is Broken Heart Syndrome Diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose you with Broken Heart Disease by looking at your medical history and by performing a physical exam. To learn more about your medical history, your doctor may ask you about your overall health and whether or not you’ve recently experienced any major stresses. While there is no single test that can diagnose Broken Heart Syndrome, the diagnosis is made based on the results of the following standard tests to rule out heart attack and imaging procedures to help establish the syndrome such as:

  • EKG (Electrocardiogram)
  • Blood Tests
  • Electrocardiography
  • Chest X-ray
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Coronary Angiography and Cardiac Catherization
  • Ventriculogram

Websites Used

  • https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hdw
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167?pg=2
  • https://www.womenshealth.gov/heart-disease-and-stroke/heart-disease/heart-disease-and-women/#4
  • https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/press-releases/2006/wise-study-of-women-and-heart-disease-yields-important-findings-on-frequently-undiagnosed-coronary-syndrome
  • https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/broken-heart-syndrome/diagnosis