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Happy heart syndrome: role of positive emotional stress in takotsubo syndrome


Abstract

AIMS: Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) is typically provoked by negative stressors such as grief, anger, or fear leading to the popular term 'broken heart syndrome'. However, the role of positive emotions triggering TTS remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to analyse the prevalence and characteristics of patients with TTS following pleasant events, which are distinct from the stressful or undesirable episodes commonly triggering TTS.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Takotsubo syndrome patients with preceding pleasant events were compared to those with negative emotional triggers from the International Takotsubo Registry. Of 1750 TTS patients, we identified a total of 485 with a definite emotional trigger. Of these, 4.1% (n = 20) presented with pleasant preceding events and 95.9% (n = 465) with unequivocal negative emotional events associated with TTS. Interestingly, clinical presentation of patients with 'happy heart syndrome' was similar to those with the 'broken heart syndrome' including symptoms such as chest pain [89.5% (17/19) vs. 90.2% (412/457), P = 1.0]. Similarly, electrocardiographic parameters, laboratory findings, and 1-year outcome did not differ. However, in a post hoc analysis, a disproportionate higher prevalence of midventricular involvement was noted in 'happy hearts' compared with 'broken hearts' (35.0 vs. 16.3%, P = 0.030).
CONCLUSION: Our data illustrate that TTS can be triggered by not only negative but also positive life events. While patient characteristics were similar between groups, the midventricular TTS type was more prevalent among the 'happy hearts' than among the 'broken hearts'. Presumably, despite their distinct nature, happy and sad life events may share similar final common emotional pathways, which can ultimately trigger TTS.

Abstract

AIMS: Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) is typically provoked by negative stressors such as grief, anger, or fear leading to the popular term 'broken heart syndrome'. However, the role of positive emotions triggering TTS remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to analyse the prevalence and characteristics of patients with TTS following pleasant events, which are distinct from the stressful or undesirable episodes commonly triggering TTS.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Takotsubo syndrome patients with preceding pleasant events were compared to those with negative emotional triggers from the International Takotsubo Registry. Of 1750 TTS patients, we identified a total of 485 with a definite emotional trigger. Of these, 4.1% (n = 20) presented with pleasant preceding events and 95.9% (n = 465) with unequivocal negative emotional events associated with TTS. Interestingly, clinical presentation of patients with 'happy heart syndrome' was similar to those with the 'broken heart syndrome' including symptoms such as chest pain [89.5% (17/19) vs. 90.2% (412/457), P = 1.0]. Similarly, electrocardiographic parameters, laboratory findings, and 1-year outcome did not differ. However, in a post hoc analysis, a disproportionate higher prevalence of midventricular involvement was noted in 'happy hearts' compared with 'broken hearts' (35.0 vs. 16.3%, P = 0.030).
CONCLUSION: Our data illustrate that TTS can be triggered by not only negative but also positive life events. While patient characteristics were similar between groups, the midventricular TTS type was more prevalent among the 'happy hearts' than among the 'broken hearts'. Presumably, despite their distinct nature, happy and sad life events may share similar final common emotional pathways, which can ultimately trigger TTS.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Cardiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2 March 2016
Deposited On:10 Mar 2016 17:27
Last Modified:12 Oct 2016 01:01
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0195-668X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehv757
Official URL:http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/02/19/eurheartj.ehv757.long
PubMed ID:26935270

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