The death of her beloved Yorkshire terrier has proven nearly fatal for Texas woman Joanie Simpson. Doctors found that, after the dog’s death, the grief was so deep that it broke her heart, literally.
In the medical literature, the phenomenon is known as the “broken-heart syndrome” and occurs after the loss of a loved one. In rare cases, the syndrome can affect even pet owners after their pets have passed away.
The 62-year-old woman told The Washington Post that one day, she woke up with a backache and chest pains when she moved. The symptoms were very similar to those of a heart attack so she was taken immediately to a hospital in Houston.
Medics at the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center, however, couldn’t detect another symptom of a classic heart attack – blocked arteries. So, they diagnosed her with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or the “broken-heart syndrome.”
The condition which can sometimes be fatal, doctors explained, can be easily taken for a heart attack. The syndrome appears after tragic life events like the death of a cherished family member.
A Stressful Year
In 2016, the Texas woman was under a lot of stress. She was caught up in a major property sale, her son underwent surgery, and her daughter’s family lost one source of income as her son-in-law was fired. What’s more, her beloved Yorkshire terrier, Meha, was diagnosed with heart failure.
Several months later, the dog died.
“I was close to inconsolable. I really took it really, really hard,”
the woman told reporters.
Doctors who treated her wrote a research paper which they published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Study authors made a case that grief for pets can be as devastating as the grief triggered by tragic events involving people.
Simpson said that after her kids left the nest, Meha became the family’s “little girl”.
Image Source: Pxhere
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