Woman Diagnosed with ‘Broken-Heart Syndrome’ After Dog’s Death

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. blockage / ˈblɒk ɪdʒ / (n) – something that blocks the way

    A blockage in your arteries is not a good sign.

  2. resemble / rɪˈzɛm bəl / (v) – to look like someone or something

    My sister resembles my mother a lot.

  3. stressor / ˈstrɛs ər / (n) – something that causes stress

    Her main stressor is her heavy workload.

  4. over the edge / ˈoʊ vər ði ɛdʒ / (idiom) – in an unstable emotional state

    Knowing the sad news may push her over the edge.

  5. prevalent / ˈprɛv ə lənt / (adj) – very common

    The disease is prevalent in men aged 50 and above.


Read the text below.

A 62-year-old woman named Joanie Simpson was rushed to the hospital due to a suspected heart attack shortly after the death of her dog.

After some tests, however, the doctors discovered that Simpson was not having a heart attack. Her x-ray results revealed that she had no blockage in her arteries. This, along with other results, proved that she was not exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack but that of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy / ˌkɑr di oʊ maɪˈɒp ə θi / or more commonly known as the ‘broken-heart syndrome.’

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy’s symptoms greatly resemble that of a heart attack and are triggered by high physical or emotional stress, like the loss of a loved one.

A few days before being hospitalized, Simpson’s dog Meha died because of congestive heart failure. Prior to this, Simpson experienced many stressors like her son’s upcoming back surgery, the unemployment of her son-in-law, and a property sale. However, what brought her over the edge was the sadness she felt because of the death of her dog, which she treated like her child.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the broken-heart syndrome is more likely to be prevalent in women compared to men. It can also occur during the post-menopausal stage. A previous experience with depression, genetics, and even a person’s personality type can also be contributing factors.

There is still a lack of grounded research that addresses the syndrome’s treatment, but doctors prescribe heart-failure medications that can help with the condition. Continuous intake of these medications may help prevent the disorder from recurring.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What else do you think Simpson can do to prevent the illness from recurring?
• Do you think experts should conduct further research about the “broken-heart syndrome?’ Why?

Discussion B

• How can extreme sadness affect one’s health?
• What can be done to help someone recover from health issues caused by extreme sadness?