Research into why Scotland has highest number of 'broken hearts'

A team of scientists at a Scottish university are gathering important data in the form of blood samples in the hope of learning more about the little known condition, Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy or broken-heart syndrome.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 2:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 2:45 pm
Scots have more cases of 'broken-heart syndrome' than rest of world

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy presents like a heart attack and is triggered by an intense episode of stress, with 50 – 60% of people diagnosed never recovering and going on to develop heart failure.

Takotsubo was originally thought of as a very rare condition however over the last 10 years researchers have begun to identify more cases. Scotland now has the world’s largest single country Takotsubo registry in the world with over 700 cases recorded between 2010 and 2017. Women account for 90 – 95% of cases.

The research funded by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland will call upon the people in the registry who are known to suffer from the heart condition. Letters will be sent asking them to go to meet the researchers at their local hospital or GP or even meet with the researchers in their own homes to give a blood sample.

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Scots have more cases of 'broken-heart syndrome' than rest of world

Researchers will collect the blood to be used for DNA analysis. This will provide the vital information needed to conclude if there is something in the genes that increases susceptibility to the condition in each individual or in families.

The researchers and charity hope to spread the message that by simply giving one blood sample you can make a real difference to people’s lives.

Professor Dana Dawson, Lead Researcher on the project, University of Aberdeen said: “This is Scotland’s chance to lead the way in finding answers about how we understand this life-changing heart condition.

“We know that other types of cardiomyopathy are genetic and so to fully understand what we are dealing with it is vital that we gather this data.

“The recurring question amongst sufferers has always been “Will I pass this onto my children?” or “Will it happen to me again?” and we are pleased that we can begin the journey to try and answer this for them.

“By simply giving one blood sample you could provide the clue to this mysterious condition and help to change people’s lives in the future.

“The next step will then be to decide the best genetic analysis and begin to analyse the blood bank.

“Each blood sample will go a long way to making a huge difference to our understanding of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.”

Jane-Claire Judson, Chief Executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: “Scotland is in the unique position to be able to lead on discovering more about this devastating heart condition.

“We are proud to be funding this pioneering research project and supporting the process to one day finding the answers that people living with Takotsubo so desperately want.

“If you do receive a letter please take the time to go and give your blood sample. It could make a great difference to the lives of future generations.”