Diagnosing and Treating Broken Heart Syndrome
Broken Heart Syndrome, or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, primarily affects middle-aged women who are going through emotional distress. Mauricio Cohen, M.D., an interventional cardiologist and researcher with UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, treats women with the condition, which can be triggered by any number of stressful events.
“Women are diagnosed with Broken Heart Syndrome after extremely traumatic experiences, such as the death of a loved one, or a job loss,” said Cohen, who is also Director of UHealth’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab, where he diagnoses cases.
The condition can be confused with a heart attack, as the initial symptoms and test results can be very similar. Broken Heart Syndrome weakens the heart muscle, is associated with intense chest pain and temporarily enlarges the heart and affects its pumping capacity, according to the American Heart Association.
“The good news is that the heart generally recovers well. We treat patients with a medication called beta-blockers,” said Cohen, adding that women can lessen their risks for Broken Heart Syndrome by eliminating stress, regularly exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and making sure that their blood pressure and cholesterol levels are in check.