Takotsubo tends to affect more women than men and in particular women over 50 years old, which can sometimes be attributed to menopause.
Takotsubo is the weakening of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber – which then affects the heart’s ability to pump blood. This heart condition is usually a result of intense emotional and physical stress such as sudden illness, a loss of a loved one or a serious accident. It is also known as the ‘broken heart’ syndrome.
It is thought that these stressful events (such as the death of a loved one) can cause an excess of hormones such as adrenaline which then ‘stun’ the heart. This then triggers changes in the heart muscle cells and blood vessels preventing the left ventricle from contracting properly to pump blood.
Typically, symptoms start just after the stressful event and are similar to those of a heart attack. Some of the main symptoms are chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting.
This condition was first described in Japan in 1990. Takotsubo is the name of a Japanese octopus trap, which is a similar shape to a heart with this condition. This happens because the left ventricle of the heart (the main pumping chamber) becomes weakened, particularly at the tip, and appears enlarged.
For more information on Takutsubo, you can head on to the following websites:
Cardiomyopathy UK is the UK’s specialist national charity for people affected by cardiomyopathy. They give support and information services and work to raise awareness of the condition.
The Takotsubo information page of the British Heart Foundation.
This is the information page on Takotsubo of the Australian Heart Research that details the current research underway regarding the condition.
An editorial about Takotsubo cardiopathy and its relation to Coronary Artery Disease.
If you have been diagnosed with Takotsubo or know someone who has it, here are some Facebook groups you can consider:
This is a public Facebook group for people who are looking for information and support on Takotsubo.
A closed Facebook group where Takotsubo patients and their families can come for support and be kept up to date with the latest research about the condition.