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‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ Has Increased During COVID-19 Pandemic, Small Study Suggests

Rick Schumann writes: Researchers at a Cleveland clinic performed a study with 1,914 patients into a phenomenon called “Broken Heart Syndrome,” where someone can be experiencing heart attack-like symptoms, but it’s not a heart attack or anything related to blocked blood flow to the heart. Turns out that it seems likely that the aggregate stresses of the pandemic (so-called “social distancing,” lack of contact with fellow humans, enforced isolation, and so on) appear to create emotional stresses that manifest with physical symptoms that mimic a heart attack.

“The pandemic has created a parallel environment which is not healthy,” said Dr. Ankur Kalra, the cardiologist who led the study. “Emotional distancing is not healthy. The economic impact is not healthy. We’ve seen that as an increase in non-coronavirus deaths, and our study says that stress cardiomyopathy has gone up because of the stress that the pandemic has created.” The study didn’t examine whether or not there could be a medical link between this phenomenon and the coronavirus, but all the participants in the study were tested for infection and were found to be free of the virus. The study has been published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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