Health
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Apical Ballooning Syndrome?

Apical Ballooning Syndrome, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, is a temporary heart condition that mimics a heart attack, featuring chest pain and shortness of breath, but is not caused by blocked arteries. Instead, emotional or physical stress leads to heart muscle weakening. Intrigued? Discover how this syndrome affects the heart and why it's crucial to recognize its signs.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Apical ballooning syndrome is a heart condition that can have serious repercussions if left untreated. It is classified as a type of cardiomyopathy, meaning a condition that affects the muscle of the heart; in this case, the main muscle of the heart is seriously weakened, which makes it hard for the heart to pump. This condition can cause symptoms similar to those of a heart attack, and often these symptoms are the first sign of a problem.

This condition was first identified in Japanese patients, and named Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. As the research slowly disseminated through the medical community, the term “apical ballooning syndrome” came to be more popular, as it very aptly describes what happens to the heart muscle. Colloquially, it is also known as “broken heart syndrome,” because the condition often manifests in response to severe stress.

Apical ballooning syndrome causes symptoms similar to those of a heart attack.
Apical ballooning syndrome causes symptoms similar to those of a heart attack.

In a patient with apical ballooning syndrome, the walls of the heart muscle balloon out as it fills with blood, causing the muscle to be weakened substantially. In a scan of the chest area, a distinctive bulge at the base of the heart can be identified. Patients may experience chest pains, an irregular heartbeat, and shock as the flow of blood to the body is interrupted and the heart has trouble beating.

There are no clear causes for apical ballooning syndrome.
There are no clear causes for apical ballooning syndrome.

Treatment typically involves the use of stabilizing medications, and sometimes the implant of a medical device that can help the heart pump. Often, the condition resolves over time with supportive treatment, and as long as the patient rests and tries to abstain from involvement in stressful situations. Left untreated, the weakened heart muscle will eventually fail, causing death.

Apical ballooning syndrome means the heart's main muscle is seriously weakened.
Apical ballooning syndrome means the heart's main muscle is seriously weakened.

No clear causes for apical ballooning syndrome have been identified. The condition appears to be much more common among older women, which could provide a clue, and it is often linked with emotional stress. Inflammatory heart disease may also be involved, as might problems with the vessels which supply blood to the heart.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

anon167367

@no. 1: yes it is.

anon142214

is coughing a symptom?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Apical ballooning syndrome causes symptoms similar to those of a heart attack.
      By: mangostock
      Apical ballooning syndrome causes symptoms similar to those of a heart attack.
    • There are no clear causes for apical ballooning syndrome.
      By: 9nong
      There are no clear causes for apical ballooning syndrome.
    • Apical ballooning syndrome means the heart's main muscle is seriously weakened.
      By: adimas
      Apical ballooning syndrome means the heart's main muscle is seriously weakened.
    • Apical ballooning syndrome is also referred to as "broken heart syndrome," because it often manifests in response to severe stress.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      Apical ballooning syndrome is also referred to as "broken heart syndrome," because it often manifests in response to severe stress.
    • A weakened heart may cause shortness of breath.
      By: DURIS Guillaume
      A weakened heart may cause shortness of breath.
    • Apical ballooning syndrome often manifests in response to severe stress.
      By: kmiragaya
      Apical ballooning syndrome often manifests in response to severe stress.
    • Left untreated, apical ballooning syndrome may result in a failed heart muscle and death.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Left untreated, apical ballooning syndrome may result in a failed heart muscle and death.