Against the backdrop of the war, Israeli experts discovered a new disease – takotsubo syndrome, or broken heart syndrome. How dangerous it is, and how the disease manifests itself.
What is Takotsubo syndrome
Against the background of any severe stress, pathological changes occur in the heart. BB.LV talks about their manifestations, using the example of one of the cases in Israel during the war. Eti, 49, from Hadera, is the mother of three sons. Two in the ranks of the IDF in the war with Hamas. The eldest is a reservist of the Givati brigade, the middle one is a Golani fighter, he is participating in the fighting in Gaza, and there has been no contact with him for three weeks. All this time, Eti tried to lead a normal lifestyle, despite the severe stress she was experiencing.
A week and a half ago, she suddenly lost consciousness at work. When the woman came to her senses, she decided not to attach importance to the fainting, attributing it to overwork, writes the publication “News of Israel”. A few days after the incident, she received a WhatsApp message: her son’s commander wrote that he was seriously injured. The mother’s heart began to beat wildly, her knees began to tremble, and a moment later she lost consciousness. The friends called an ambulance.
At the Hillel Yafe hospital in Hadera, an ECG revealed pathological changes, and Eti was urgently sent for catheterization (tsinturization) of the coronary vessels. However, during the procedure it turned out that the coronary arteries were in perfect order, and what happened to the woman was “broken heart syndrome“The patient was hospitalized in the cardiology intensive care unit.
Since the start of the war with Hamas on October 7, almost all Israelis have been in a state of anxiety, stress and anxiety. Hillel Yafe Hospital reports that in November there was a significant increase in the number of visits from women aged about 50 with complaints consistent with a heart attack. Sometimes we are talking about a real heart attack, and sometimes about broken heart syndrome, which in the medical literature is called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.
The name is not accidental. Takotsubo is a Japanese octopus trap that is shaped like an overflowing heart. With this syndrome, the heart looks exactly like this when examined – with a spherical swollen apex, which is why the disorder is called Takotsubo syndrome.
Manifestations of broken heart syndrome
Professor Ariel Rogin, head of the cardiology department at Hillel Yafe Hospital, explains:
“This syndrome occurs due to a temporary decrease in myocardial function. Most often this occurs against the background of severe stress caused by the death of a close relative, dismissal, divorce. It is known that stress is a risk factor for various diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. At the same time syndrome, the body reacts to stress with a sharp production of adrenaline. This hormone quickly reaches the heart and causes intoxication of the myocardium. This leads to a temporary weakening of the heart muscle, similar to what happens during a heart attack.”
The professor noted that cardiovascular diseases are more common in men. However, more women are now being treated in the cardiac intensive care unit. They all have one thing in common: their sons are soldiers fighting in the Gaza Strip. He continues:
“These patients report symptoms similar to a heart attack: severe chest pain, shortness of breath, increased sweating. The attack lasts for several minutes or hours after the event that caused the stress. At the same time, the ECG reveals changes characteristic of a heart attack, which is why patients undergo cystometry to identify blockage of blood vessels. But in most cases we see that the arteries are patent, and then we can almost confidently say that we are talking about broken heart syndrome. Some women experience a true heart attack with blockage of the artery, although the structure of these vessels remains normal “Their heart attacks are not caused by classic risk factors, but by stress.”