Broken Hearts and How to Heal Them
Modern medicine confirms what people have known for thousands of years: heartbreak is more than a metaphor.
A mere generation ago, “heartbreak" was an overused literary metaphor but not an actual medical event. The first person to recognize it as a genuine condition was a Japanese cardiologist named Hikaru Sato. In 1990, Dr. Sato identified the curious case of a female patient who displayed the symptoms of a heart attack while testing negative for it. He named it “Takotsubo Syndrome" after noticing that the left ventricle of her heart changed shape during the episode to resemble a takotsubo, a traditional octopus-trap. A Japanese study in 2001 not only confirmed Sato’s identification of a sudden cardio event that mimics a heart attack but also highlighted the common factor of emotional distress in such patients. It had taken the medical profession 4,000 years to acknowledge what poets had been saying all along: Broken Heart Syndrome is real.