A Texas woman thought she was suffering from a heart attack, but actually had "broken heart syndrome" due to her dog passing.
A woman was rushed to the hospital after suffering what appeared to be a heart attack, but in reality was suffering a condition known as “broken heart syndrome” after her dog died. The incredible case of 62-year-old Joanie Simpson of Texas was described this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Simpson, who was 61 at the time of the incident, went to the emergency room with severe chest pain. Doctors determined that none of her arteries were blocked, however, and instead diagnosed her with takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which is often associated with postmenopausal women and can be caused by a stressful event.
Simpson’s dog, Meha, a Yorkshire terrier, had died recently and she described herself in a Washington Post report as “inconsolable,” and that she took Meha’s death “really, really hard.” Simpson is retired and her kids are all grown up, making Meha the only other one in the household.
“A 61-year-old woman with hypertension and hypothyroidism presented to the emergency department with acute onset of severe chest pain,” the abstract reads. “She reported multiple recent stressors, including the death of her dog. An electrocardiogram showed ST-segment elevation in the anterolateral leads. Emergency coronary angiography revealed normal coronary arteries. Left ventriculography (Video 1 and Panel A [showing diastole] and Panel B [showing systole]) and contrast echocardiography (Video 2) revealed severe hypokinesis in the apical segments and hyperdynamic basal segments, with an ejection fraction of 40 to 45%. A diagnosis of takotsubo cardiomyopathy was made.”