Broken heart syndrome: a real disease with genetic predisposition, study reveals

Many patients, especially women, arrive in the emergency room with the symptoms of a heart attack, but the tests reveal no obstructions or cardiac scars, while the functional anomalies regress spontaneously within a few weeks: it is the 'Takotsubo Syndrome', commonly called 'Broken Heart Syndrome', and there is a genetic predisposition, as demonstrated by a study by the Foggia Polyclinic

Genetic link to Takotsubo syndrome

While they don’t suffer from heart attacks, patients with Takotsubo Syndrome, also known as Broken Heart Syndrome, experience functional heart anomalies without blockages or cardiac scars. A study conducted by the Policlinico of Foggia has revealed a genetic predisposition in these patients, predominantly women.

Unique brain activity patterns

The research specifically evaluated brain activity through cerebral tomoscintigraphy in patients with the syndrome and suspected vascular dementia, uncovering distinct characteristics.

Stress-induced symptoms mimicking heart attacks

Many patients develop the syndrome following significant emotional stress, arriving at the emergency room with symptoms akin to acute myocardial infarction. However, unlike heart attacks, doctors do not find blood flow obstructions or cardiac scars. While cardiac function anomalies are observed, they spontaneously resolve after a few weeks or months.

Insights from brain function studies

“Through this study, we identified a functional brain basis that predisposes individuals to the development of the syndrome,” explains Francesco Santoro, one of the study’s main coordinators. “Indeed, affected patients showed increased metabolic activity in areas involved in emotional processing, such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and midbrain.”

Implications for Future Treatments

Scientists believe this research could significantly aid the development of neurological as well as cardiological therapeutic approaches for select cases.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology – Cardiovascular Imaging.

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
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