Time Does Not Mend A Broken Heart As Scientists Find Condition Causes Long-Term Damage

Songwriters, poets and novelists have long mused over whether time truly heals everything.

Charles Dickens toyed over whether the bitter Miss Haversham would ever recover from being jilted at the altar, and for many historians, Queen Victoria’s black dress came to symbolize her irreparable suffering over Prince Albert’s death.

But a new study has apparently put their agonizing to bed and concluded that not even the clock can always mend a broken heart.

A team of medical researchers from the University of Aberdeen have said that so-called “broken heart syndrome” can leave physical scars that never recover.

British Heart Foundation-funded study followed 52 patients over four months, aged between 28 and 87, who suffered with what is officially known as takotsubo syndrome.

The little-known condition was first coined in Japan in 1990 and named after the native word for an octopus pot, which has a unique shape that resembles a broken left ventricle.

It is provoked when the heart muscle is suddenly “stunned”, causing the left ventricle to change shape, and is typically prompted by “intense emotional or physical stress”.

It affects the heart’s ability to pump blood and, according to the BHF, there remains no known medical cure.

Around 3,000 people per year in the UK suffer from the rare syndrome, which mostly affects women.

“This study has shown that in some patients who develop takotsubo syndrome, various aspects of heart function remain abnormal for up to four months afterwards,” said BHF associate medical director, Professor Metin Avkiran.

“Worryingly, these patients’ hearts appear to show a form of scarring, indicating that full recovery may take much longer, or indeed may not occur, with current care. full story

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