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Friday 20 April 2018

Time can't fix broken hearts, says study

A team of medical researchers from the University of Aberdeen have said that so-called “broken heart syndrome” can leave physical scars that never disappear. Stock Image
A team of medical researchers from the University of Aberdeen have said that so-called “broken heart syndrome” can leave physical scars that never disappear. Stock Image

Peter Walker

Songwriters, poets and novelists have long mused over whether time truly heals everything.

Charles Dickens toyed over whether the bitter Miss Havisham would ever recover from being jilted at the altar, and for many historians, Queen Victoria's black dress came to symbolise her irreparable suffering over Prince Albert's death.

But a new study has apparently put their agonising to bed and concluded that not even the clock can always mend a broken heart.

A team of medical researchers from the University of Aberdeen have said that so-called "broken heart syndrome" can leave physical scars that never disappear.

Until now, it was thought the heart fully recovered from the syndrome, but new research suggests the muscle actually suffers long-term damage.

This could explain why people with the syndrome tend to have the same life expectancy as those people who suffer a heart attack.

The British Heart Foundation-funded study followed 52 patients, aged between 28 and 87, over four months, who suffered with what is officially known as takotsubo syndrome.

It is provoked - mostly in women - when the heart muscle is suddenly "stunned", causing the left ventricle to change shape, and is typically prompted by "intense emotional or physical stress".

It affects the heart's ability to pump blood and, according to the BHF, there remains no known medical cure.

The study is published in the 'Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography'.

Irish Independent

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