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One In Six ‘Broken Heart Syndrome' Patients Also Have Cancer, Says Study

The syndrome also known as stress cardiomyopathy develops when heart functioning is disrupted due to the body facing intense pressure.

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Updated:July 20, 2019, 10:39 AM IST
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One In Six ‘Broken Heart Syndrome' Patients Also Have Cancer, Says Study
(Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Voyagerix/ Istock.com)
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Cancer and ‘broken heart syndrome’ may be interlinked, a new study says. The syndrome also known as stress cardiomyopathy develops when heart functioning is disrupted due to the body facing intense pressure.

A new international study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that one in six broken heart syndrome patients also have cancer or a history of the disease, says a Daily Mail report.

Broken heart syndrome is often attributed to an emotional trigger— like the death of a near one— but those who had had cancer were less likely to have such immediate traumatic events, according to the study.

Patients suffering from both conditions were far more likely to die within five years of diagnosis than patients suffering only from ‘broken heart syndrome.’

Before it was discovered in the 1990s, broken heart syndrome was dismissed by most doctors. But now, some 1.2 million Americans are said to suffer from the condition every year.

Also known as 'taksubo cardiomyopathy,' the temporary but life-threatening condition is typically triggered by stress, which then causes the heart to contort.

Those affected can suffer, according to the Harvard Health Publishing, from chest pain and shortness of breath after severe stress, electrocardiogram abnormalities that mimic those of a heart attack, no evidence of coronary artery obstruction, movement abnormalities in the left ventricle, and ballooning of the left ventricle.

The new University Hospital Zurich- led study has lent credence to past research regarding the cancer-broken heart link.

The researchers analyzed data pertaining to over 1,600 broken heart patients and found that one in six of them had a history of cancer and were at a greater risk of dying within just five years.

Moreover, rates of psychiatric and psychological distress were nearly same in both the group that had had cancer and the one that hadn't.

But fewer of the patients that had had both cancer and broken heart syndrome developed the latter following an emotional trigger.

The study authors concluded that broken heart syndrome might, in a way, be a complication of cancer.

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