British Heart Foundation funds Aberdeen study into “neglected area of cardiology”

The University of Aberdeen has announced a grant from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which will enable its researchers to conduct an epidemiology study into Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

In what’s often described, according to the University, as a “neglected area of cardiology”, this is believed to be the first ever national study into the heart condition.

The BHF has given clinical scientists from the University £215,000 in funding to work on what was previously commonly referred to as “broken heart syndrome”.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which is potentially fatal, causes the left ventricle of the heart to ‘change shape and get larger’, ultimately weakening the muscle and impacting the pumping of blood. It affects thousands in the UK every year and is said to be brought on by physical or emotional distress.

However, the exact causes and triggers are not fully understood, with scientists believing a number of factors could be involved. While symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath can often be confused with heart attacks.

This study aims to examine the long-term outcomes for people who have suffered from the condition, by examining data from all recorded cases since 2010. It’s then hoped that any findings will help shape research trials and clinical practice.

Professor Dana Dawson, study lead from the University’s Cardiology and Cardiovascular Research Unit and a Consultant Cardiologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a sudden and potentially catastrophic heart problem sometimes caused by stress. But the condition has only been recognised in recent years and so our knowledge remains limited. As such, it is vital that we learn more about this neglected area of cardiology and its longer-term impact on patients.”

James Jopling, Head of BHF Scotland, added: “This study will help inform how we treat patients, identify those at particular risk and allow us to gain valuable information on potential therapeutic treatments that could be tested in future trials.”

News of the funding from BHF arrives in February, which is National Heart month. Currently, three in 10 people in Scotland are said to die from heart and circulatory diseases.