‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ has increased during coronavirus pandemic, study shows

THE MYSTERIOUS CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CORONAVIRUS AND THE HEART

The study found the incidence of stress cardiomyopathy, or Takotsubo Syndrome, increased with a significant 7.8 per cent during the pandemic’s initial apex, compared with prepandemic incidences that ranged from 1.5 percent to 1.8 percent. The findings suggest that psychological, social and economic stress linked to the coronavirus are linked to the increase.

FILE – In this April 20, 2020, file photo, resident medical practitioner Leslie Bottrell stands outside a room at an Intensive Care Unit as a nurse suctions the lungs of a COVID-19 patient at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y. A U.S. government report says death rates are 12 times higher for coronavirus patients with chronic illnesses than for others who become infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report Monday, June 15 highlights the dangers posed by these conditions. They include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung ailments, such as for instance asthma or emphysema. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Japanese scientists first identified Takotsubo Syndrome in 1990. While what causes the condition aren’t yet fully understood, physicians believe a person’s a reaction to unexpected stressful events may cause a release of stress hormones that temporarily reduce steadily the heart’s power to pump — causing it to contract less effortlessly or irregularly.

“The association between stress cardiomyopathy and increasing levels of stress and anxiety has long been established,” the report’s authors wrote. “The psychological, social, and economic distress accompanying the pandemic, rather than direct viral involvement and sequelae of the infection, are more likely factors associated with the increase in stress cardiomyopathy cases. This was further supported by negative COVID-19 testing results in all patients diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy in the study group.”

This said, the researchers also noted some limitations to their study, including that their patient sample solely represented the population of Northeast Ohio.

“The results should be interpreted with caution when applied to other states or countries,” they said. “Further research must examine the association of COVID-19 with the incidence of stress cardiomyopathy and study any temporal or regional differences.”

In addition, they noted it absolutely was “plausible” patients with heart disease had chosen to avoid visiting hospitals amid the pandemic.

Since the pandemic began, health officials have warned in regards to the impact of coronavirus on mental health.

“The impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health is already extremely concerning,” World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote in a May United Nations policy brief. “Social isolation, anxiety about contagion, and loss of family is compounded by the distress due to loss of income and often employment.”

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According to the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, an estimated 23.5 percent of Americans reported feeling symptoms of depressive disorder between April 23 and May 5. That figure rose to 25.1 percent between June 11 and June 16.

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