Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Takotsubu Cardiomyopathy

broken heartIt’s the Japanese term for broken heart syndrome, an event in which the heart has an acute physiological weakening in response to extreme stress or grief. It can resolve, although sometimes it doesn’t. (We all loved James Garner in ‘The Notebook’ because the bittersweet ending was believable.)

On echocardiogram the heart balloons to a distinctive shape resembling that of a Japanese octopus trapping pot. The pot has a wide base and a narrow neck called the takotsubu.

There are dozens of documented cases, the most significant being the 2004 Honshu Island earthquake. Post this horrendous event; there was a 24-fold increase in the incidence of Takotsubu cases. In almost every case, the patient lived near the epicenter.

It’s unfortunate that we, as a general population, see stress management as some type of ‘Hippy’ trend reserved for Southern Californians or Bohemian artists living month to month. The number of clinical cases reviewed concerning the relationship between hypertension and stress, there are too many to count. If you have any other comorbidities, stress is often placed low on the list of items a physician addresses.

Of course, correlation does not prove causation.

I’m a heart patient and a nurse.  I see the issue from both sides.

I wanted to share this after reading an article about it in The New York Times and reflecting on how I have let stress dance around the edges of my heart.

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The first step is acknowledging there is a problem, right?

4 Comments »

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