We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Stress Cardiomyopathy?

Marjorie McAtee
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Stress cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome, refers to a severe weakness of the heart muscle following sudden stress. The stress trigger can be physical, such as a stroke or injury, or emotional, such as extreme grief, anger, fear, or surprise. Patients suffering stress cardiomyopathy typically experience symptoms similar to those of cardiac arrest. Most patients diagnosed with broken heart syndrome are post-menopausal women with no prior history of cardiovascular disease. With appropriate and timely treatment, most stress cardiomyopathy patients make a full recovery.

In times of physical or emotional stress, the human body produces elevated levels of the stress hormone, adrenaline. Adrenaline has long been implicated in the "fight or flight" response to danger. It can provide the strength necessary to fend off or flee from an attacker or a dangerous situation.

Medical science does not yet have a full understanding of how adrenaline impacts the heart, but they suspect that, in stress cardiomyopathy, an enormous rush of adrenaline simply overwhelms the heart muscle. This can impair heart function, though, usually, that impairment is temporary and leaves behind no permanent ill effects.

Many people who experience broken heart syndrome feel like they are having a heart attack. Symptoms include shortness of breath, low blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and chest pain. When a heart attack occurs, however, arteries around the heart become blocked, restricting blood flow and causing tissue death in the heart muscle. Most people with stress cardiomyopathy also have healthy cardiovascular systems, and have not experienced any arterial blockage. The adrenaline rush implicated in broken heart syndrome seems to temporarily paralyze heart tissue, but does not kill it.

The symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy usually appear suddenly. They are often so severe that patients immediately seek medical treatment. Broken heart syndrome can cause significant, if temporary, heart muscle weakness. Most patients need to be hospitalized while they recover.

With treatment, the prognosis for stress cardiomyopathy is very good. The heart muscle usually recovers from temporary paralysis within 14 days, and the disease usually leaves no lasting damage. Most patients recover completely. Doctors do not yet know what the rates of recurrence are for broken heart syndrome, but many believe that the disease is unlikely to recur.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee , Former Writer
Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

Marjorie McAtee

Marjorie McAtee

Former Writer

Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.