Hey there! Hope you all had a great weekend.
Today's question comes from Charli Mac. She had a bunch of great questions about a motor vehicle accident that causes all sorts of chaos, but I wanted to focus on this particular question:
"I also have a character suffering for blunt force trauma to the chest. After surgery he is wonky but speaking to his kids. When he hears his wife passes he cries and and basically dies of a broken heart (literally). Is this remotely possible?"
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. People can truly die of broken hearts.
Here's the science behind it. Broken Heart Syndrome (also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, apical ballooning cardiomyopathy) is a known entity in the medical world. (FYI cardio=heart; myo=muscle; -pathy=disease)
The Japanese name for it (takotsubo) comes from the Japanese word for the octopus trap that the left ventricle resembles as it balloons outward.
The majority of the cases are in women, though it's not unheard of in men. It can occur after a major physical or emotional stress (think sudden death of a family member; devastating news or sudden illness; natural disaster).
The symptoms can be similar to those of a sudden heart attack, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and fainting. The sufferer can have heart failure (including fluid build-up in the lungs and low blood pressure). Shock (dangerously low blood pressure), stroke, and dangerous or fatal heart rhythms can also occur.
Though death can occur (the range of reports span 0-8% death rate in the hospital), many who do survive are lucky enough to see their heart function recover quite a bit.
Thanks Charli for a great question and an extremely fascinating topic. Sadly, broken hearts aren't just figurative in our world.