Fixing a Broken Heart

This Valentine's Day, just as many men might suffer from a broken heart as women. But doctors say the real “broken heart syndrome” actually affects more women.

Doctor Gene Musser is a UW cardiologist who works out of Meriter hospital. He says symptoms resemble a heart attack; pressure, shortness of breath and chest pain.

But intense *emotional* stress causes broken heart syndrome, unlike a typical heart attack.

Musser says patients suffer heart damage, but fully recover. "It seems to be a sporadic odd sort of thing.. the thing to know in any given city … large amount of anger, sadness and bad news… we see very few people who have this… individual risk is negligible."

Musser has films showing a patient who suffered from broken heart syndrome and then returned to normal. The New England Journal of Medicine published a new report on this condition this week.

Doctors remind valentines this weekend the illness has no connection to the holiday, or any other time of year.

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