A woman was rushed to the hospital with severe chest pain, only for doctors to discover that none of her arteries were blocked.
A truly stunning story is making the rounds after the New England Journal of Medicine published research on “broken heart syndrome” when a Texas woman had her heart literally break after her dog died. Joanie Simpson, 62, of Texas went to the emergency room with severe chest pain last year, and doctors were surprised to find none of her arteries blocked.
So they diagnosed her with takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as “broken heart syndrome” which is typically seen in postmenopausal women and is brought on by a stressful event. Simpson’s dog Meha, a Yorkshire terrier, had recently passed away.
She told the Washington Post she was “inconsolable,” and that Meha’s death was “really, really hard” on her. All of her children have grown up, and she has since retired, meaning that Meha was her only companion 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.”