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MRI in "Broken Heart syndrome"

"Sudden emotional stress can also result in severe but reversible heart muscle weakness that mimics a classic heart attack. Patients with this condition, called stress cardiomyopathy but known colloquially as "broken heart" syndrome, are often misdiagnosed with a massive heart attack when, indeed, they have suffered from a days-long surge in adrenalin (epinephrine) and other stress hormones that temporarily "stun" the heart. These chemicals can be temporarily toxic to the heart, effectively stunning the muscle and producing symptoms similar to a typical heart attack, including chest pain, fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath and heart failure.
Examination by angiogram showed no blockages in the arteries supplying the heart. Blood tests also failed to reveal some typical signs of a heart attack, such as highly elevated levels of cardiac enzymes that are released into the blood stream from damaged heart muscle. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans confirmed that none of the stressed patients had suffered irreversible muscle damage. Catecholamine metabolites, such as metanephrine and normetanephrine, were also.Heart biopsies also showed an injury pattern consistent with a high catecholamine state and not heart attack.A hallmark feature of the syndrome was the heart's unique contraction pattern as viewed by echocardiogram, or ultrasound. While the base of the heart's main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, contracted normally, there was weakened contraction in the middle and upper portions of the muscle. Other characteristics included a distinctive pattern on electrocardiogram, or EKG."
Reference Science Daily

MRI in "Broken Heart syndrome" Reviewed by Sumer Sethi on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 Rating: 5

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