Stress-linked 'broken heart syndrome' more common during COVID-19 pandemic

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Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Observational study: A study in which the subject is observed to see if there is a relationship between two or more things (eg: the consumption of diet drinks and obesity). Observational studies cannot prove that one thing causes another, only that they are linked.

People: This is a study based on research using people.

The incidence of stress cardiomyopathy, also known as 'broken heart syndrome', has increase significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with pre-pandemic periods, according to US research. Stress cardiomyopathy is a condition in which intense emotional or physical stress can cause rapid and severe heart muscle weakness. The study found that among people presenting to hospital with acute coronary syndrome, rates of stress cardiomyopathy increased from around 1.5 per cent pre-pandemic to 7.8 per cent during the pandemic. The authors say that psychological, social, and economic stress related to the pandemic is likely the reason for this increase, rather than the virus itself.

Journal/conference: JAMA Network Open

Link to research (DOI): 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.14780

Organisation/s: Cleveland Clinic, USA

Funder: Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.


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