Broken hearts can kill

by Limbic on February 22, 2005

From Time Magazine:

I had always asumed that a broken heart was just a metaphor, a cliché of country music and romance novels. So I was as surprised as anyone to learn last week that doctors now consider it a real medical event, one that can kill.

The news comes from a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in which physicians at Johns Hopkins described a group of 18 mostly older women and one man who developed serious heart problems after experiencing a sudden emotional shock, such as the death of a loved one, or, in the case of one 60-year-old woman, a surprise birthday party.

What surprised the doctors who examined these patients was that none of them had actually suffered a heart attack. Indeed, few had any signs of heart disease at all. Yet at least five of the 19–and perhaps more–would have died without treatment, according to Dr. Ilan Wittstein, the cardiologist who led the study

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