A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that the so-called broken heart syndrome, or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, can cause cancer.
‘There seems to be a strong interplay between Takotsubo syndrome [broken heart syndrome] and malignancies,’ said Christian Templin, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and director of Interventional Cardiology of the Andreas Grüntzig Heart Catheterization Laboratories at the University Heart Center at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland.
As part of the research, experts found that one in six people with broken heart syndrome had cancer, and that these patients in particular were more likely to die within five years.
Researchers looked at data from over 1,600 patients diagnosed with broken heart syndrome. Of those with cancer, nearly 90% were women. The most frequent type of cancer was that of the breast, followed by a tumor in the gastrointestinal system.
‘The mechanism by which malignancy and cancer treatment may promote the development of broken heart syndrome should be explored, and our findings provide an additional reason to investigate the potential cardiotoxic effects of chemotherapy,’ Templin stated.
Among the main causes of stress cardiomyopathy, specialists highlighted the unexpected death of a loved one, receiving bad news, losing a job, a divorce or even earning a lot of money suddenly.
In this context, the condition causes one part of the heart to stop pumping normally, which may cause the rest of the heart to pump more forcefully.
According to Templin’s statements, this research should raise awareness among oncologists and hematologists that broken heart syndrome should be considered in patients undergoing cancer diagnosis or treatment who experience chest pain, shortness of breath or abnormalities on their electrocardiogram.
The condition was first identified in Japan in 1990, where physicians noticed people with heart attack symptoms, but upon further testing, none of the signature blood clots that cause heart attacks.