Scientists to Trial First-Ever Treatment for Broken Heart Syndrome

Scientists are set to trial the first-ever treatment for broken heart syndrome.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy affects around 5,000 people in the United Kingdom each year, with at least 7 percent of all heart attacks diagnosed as broken heart syndrome.

In the United States, around 6,800 people were diagnosed with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy in 2008, according to a 2012 study published by the National Library of Medicine.

Broken heart syndrome
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy affects around 5,000 people in the United Kingdom each year, with at least 7 percent of all heart attacks diagnosed as broken heart syndrome. Stock image/File photo: Broken heart toy with medical stethoscope on white background. Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Women are far more likely to experience the condition than men, according to experts.

There is currently no evidence base for an effective therapy that helps alleviate symptoms or to help people live longer, but researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland will now trial a program of exercise conditioning and psychological therapy for people diagnosed with the condition.

The study will span three years after a grant of 300,000 British pounds ($364,000) from the British Heart Foundation.

The new trial will recruit 90 people from across Scotland within three weeks of them experiencing an episode. Participants will either take part in personalized exercise conditioning, a program of cognitive-behavioral therapy or be part of a control group.

All participants will receive detailed heart investigations at baseline and again at three months.

"Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome, remains a comparatively poorly understood condition," said Dr. David Gamble of the University of Aberdeen.

"It is vital that we develop a high-quality evidence base to guide clinicians in the management of this condition.

"In many clinical intervention trials, we are attempting to make incremental improvements to existing treatments, but as broken heart syndrome is at such an early stage there is no established treatment to use as a base."

Professor Dana Dawson of the University of Aberdeen added: "We already know that cardiovascular disease affects men and women in different ways, so there is no reason why a one-size-fits-all treatment should work for broken heart syndrome.

"After so long spent researching this condition, it is great to be taking this huge step towards developing a standardized treatment for it and we look forward to seeing the results in due course."

"Takotsubo syndrome is a sudden and potentially catastrophic heart condition which has only been recognized in recent years," said Professor James Leiper, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation.

"As such, these trials to find the first ever treatment for the condition are a huge step forward and will play a significant role in increasing our understanding of this neglected area of cardiology."

Produced in association with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.