June 27, 2012
Our research finds 'broken heart syndrome' clue
Researchers we fund at Imperial College London have made a
breakthrough in our understanding of Takutsubo cardiomyopathy, also
known as 'broken heart syndrome'.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a
temporary condition where your heart muscle becomes suddenly
weakened or ‘stunned’ and the left ventricle, one of the heart’s
chambers, changes shape.
The condition affects up to 2,500 people a
the UK and was first reported in Japan. The word Takotsubo means
‘octopus pot’ in Japanese, as the left ventricle changes into a
similar shape - developing a narrow neck and a round bottom.
Our Research Advisor Dr Shannon Amoils
“This is a fascinating study which presents
a possible explanation for the signs of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a
rare condition that’s usually preceded by intense emotional
or physical stress. Patients usually have symptoms that
resemble those of a heart attack but nearly all fully recover after
a short time.
“The study also provides new insights into
how the heart may protect itself from stress, which opens up
exciting avenues of exploration for research. We
must remember though that this is a study in rats, and the findings
need to be confirmed in people before we can be sure of their
relevance to patients.”
The research was published in American Heart Association journal