Saturday, February 11, 2012

Broken Heart Syndrome

Broken heart syndrome -- not just an invention of romance novelists. Takotusbo cardiomyopathy, or sudden heart failure linked to extreme stress, is also known as broken heart syndrome and is most prevalent in post-menopausal women. The heart receives a flood of stress hormones that causes ballooning of the left ventricle, chest pains, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat. An especially stressful physical or emotional situation, such as a traumatic injury or the sudden death of a family member, can set off an attack.

Richard and I have joked that we want to die at the same moment at the age of 90 while scuba diving of Grand Cayman Island. Neither one of us wants to survive the other for very long. What follows is a sad-sweet story of a long-term partners who died minutes apart from each other.

"James and Marjorie Landis of Westmont, Pa., were married and inseparable for 65 years. They died this week just 88 minutes apart.

Marjorie, 87, passed away Monday after a long illness.

James, 88, died an hour and 28 minutes later of a heart attack. He was at his wife's side when she died.

"The last thing he said to her was, 'It's OK. I love you. We had many good years goether. I will see you real soon,'" said the couple's granddaughter, Erin Miller.

'I just think he died of a broken heart. I don’t think they could have lived apart from each other.'

The cause of the death of bereaved longtime spouses, the study found, can be a condition known as takotusbo cardiomyopathy or sudden heart failure linked to an emotional experience. Some experts have dubbed the condition 'broken heart syndrome.'"


Trish Robichaud said...

I know personally how very real Broken Heart Syndrome is. When I was about 15 I lost both of my grandparents, 3 days apart.

My grandfather had been in the hospital for some time with heart disease and he'd recently had another heart attack. At one point the doctors had to tell my grandmother that he was too sick to ever go home again. He just needed too much care for her to provide.

48 hours later my grandmother had a massive coronary and passed away. I guess she just couldn't bear the thought of his not being at home with her, and that he was that sick.

A few hours after my grandfather was told that she was gone, he passed away quietly in his sleep. I'm certain that he couldn't bear the thought of living without her.

They were a big part of my life back then and I have always cherished that story as proof that love can be stronger than life.


lafaymom said...

There is so much we don't know about the human spirit. My Aunt and Uncle have had two of their children die and I often wonder how their spirit was able to go on. They had three other children that needed them so they persevered but how they were able to will their bodies to do this is mind blowing. I am very interested in the science behind the workings of our body.