In the case of Joanie Simpson that is exactly what happened in 2016.
Joanie Simpson a 62 year old retired medical transcript worker in America had a 9-year-old Yorkshire terrier called “ Meha” who was in end stage congestive heart failure, in fact Joanie had made the heartwrenching decision to make the appointment to arrange for Meha to be put to sleep, however she seemed to improve and Joanie decided to wait, the very next day Meha passed away in pain.
Joanie who had a lot of stresses in her life at the time such as her son awaiting back surgery, her son in law now redundant and a complex property sale to name but a few, suddenly had acute chest pain and backache.
Assuming she was suffering a heart attack, Joanie found herself in the E.D. of the Heart Vascular Institute of Texas, being tended to by Dr Matia who ran a barrage of tests believing Joanie was indeed suffering a heart attack, those tests were blood tests to check the troponin levels which are elevated after a heart attack, an ECG and an angiogram to rule out blockages. These tests were clear although a further testing of an echocardiogram and an MRI scan showed that the heart was enlarged.
A condition known as Takotsubo Syndrome which when translated means Octopus Pot due to the shape of the left ventricular resembling a pot. Takotsubo Syndrome was first reported in Japan in 1990, it is also known as broken heart syndrome.
Broken Heart Syndrome mimics the symptoms of a heart attack and is an acute stress induced temporary condition of the left ventricular which causes weakness that changes the shape of the heart and enlarges it. It is believed, to be caused by cortisol hormones (stress hormones) suddenly pulsating through the body. Treatment includes aspirin, heart medications and monitoring. Dr Matia believes the case of Joanie to be concise and elegant and he states the arteries were crystal clear. Joanie could not believe her love for her long term beloved furry friend would end up with her in the emergency department with a suspected heart attack. It does however go to highlight the bond between human and furry friends to the grief endured at their passing.
Joanie now resides in a little town called Camp Woods just a few hours Northwest of San Antonio, and whilst she has not found a replacement for the much loved Meha, she has got a cat called Buster. Joanie states she will again have a dog when the time is right and still cannot believe that her love for Meha and the extra stressors in her life lead to a condition she has never heard of before that is common in Postmenopausal woman and can happen again. Chordae Tendineae or colloquially known as the heartstrings really can be played upon by our furry friends.
H/T – WashingtonPost