February 4, 2023
Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy Or Stress Cardiomyopathy

What Is Stress Cardiomyopathy? – An Overview

Stress cardiomyopathy (also called Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome) is a sudden weakening of the heart muscle that occurs when extreme stress causes the heart to spasm. It was named after the Japanese octopus pot, or Takotsubo, which has a similar deep and narrow shape.

This article will give you a short description of broken heart syndrome; this introductory article may not have profound knowledge and is written for patients’ awareness, not for professionals to research in depth.

What is Stress Cardiomyopathy?

Stress cardiomyopathy is a temporary, reversible condition that affects the heart muscle and causes it to enlarge. We call it broken heart syndrome.

It’s most commonly associated with:

  • Systolic heart dysfunction (which means your heart isn’t pumping blood out of the heart effectively)
  • Fainting due to a drop in blood pressure during physical activity or exercise
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (an enlarged and weakened heart muscle)

You might have stress cardiomyopathy if you have a recent history of:

  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction) or chest pain from coronary artery disease that lasts for more than 30 minutes without treatment for at least 24 hours; this is called “angina” and may be symptomatic of stress cardiomyopathy if certain conditions are met.
Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy Or Broken Heart Syndrome

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy Or Broken Heart Syndrome (Photo: St Vincent)

What Causes Stress Cardiomyopathy?

An intense stressor causes stress cardiomyopathy. Most often, this is an emotional or physical event that puts an overwhelming amount of stress on the body.

The most common causes of stress cardiomyopathy include:

  • Acute illness (such as high fever)
  • Sudden bad news
  • Financial stress
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Sudden shock

Stress cardiomyopathy rarely occurs in people with heart disease, but some people who have experienced a heart attack may go on to develop it.

Who is at Risk For Stress Cardiomyopathy?

Not everyone is at risk of stress cardiomyopathy; some people with a history of heart disease and other chronic diseases are more likely to get affected. People who are too emotional and too much sensitive are also at risk.

Here is a list of people who are at a higher risk of stress cardiomyopathy:

  • People with a history of heart problems.
  • People with a family history of heart problems.
  • Anyone who has experienced recent emotional or physical stress, especially if it was extreme and for an extended period.
  • Anyone with high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Anyone with diabetes or another condition that affects the metabolism (processing) of sugar in the body.
  • Smokers, because they have higher levels of carbon dioxide and lactic acid in their blood than nonsmokers do

What are the Symptoms Of Stress Cardiomyopathy?

The most common symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy are shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain
  • Sweating

How is Stress Cardiomyopathy Diagnosed?

Stress cardiomyopathy can be diagnosed with a test called tilt table testing. The patient is placed on a bed that tilts from horizontal to vertical and then back again, which increases blood flow to the lower body and causes the heart to work harder than usual. This can show whether there’s any decrease in blood flow to the heart, which would indicate damage caused by stress cardiomyopathy.

Other tests include an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of your heart) and cardiac catheterization (a special X-ray test that uses a thin tube inserted into an artery).

How is Takotsubo cardiomyopathy Treated?

It can be treated in several ways. Some medications can heal your heart or give you relief. Along with proper rest and diet can help and assist you a lot.


Your doctor might recommend medications called beta-blockers, which can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure. These drugs can reduce symptoms of this common cardiomyopathy and improve your chances of recovery.


Getting plenty of rest is essential during treatment for stress cardiomyopathy because it will help you get stronger and recover faster. Resting properly will ensure the recovery of affected heart muscles and tissue damaged during stress cardiomyopathy.

Avoiding Situations That Cause Stress

You may need to change the way you do things if they make you feel stressed or overwhelmed, especially while recovering from an episode of this condition.

For example, avoid situations that are known to trigger your anxiety, such as driving on busy roads or visiting crowded places like shopping malls or theme parks without lots of exits available should anything go wrong (such as someone having a panic attack)

When Should I Seek Help From a Healthcare Provider?

If you have any of the following symptoms, seek help from a healthcare provider immediately:

  • Chest pain (Chest pain can be a form of gas pain) or pressure
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting spells
  • Pain in your neck, jaw, upper back


Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a condition heart condition that affects the heart muscle. It can be caused by physical stress, such as extreme overexertion or sudden fright. In most cases, stress cardiomyopathy resolves quickly without any lasting complications.

However, some conditions may increase your risk of developing this disease, and these need to be addressed before they become more serious health problems.

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