Broken heart syndrome - Is it a psychosomatic disorder?

Journal of psychosomatic research

PubMedID: 25077859

Lacey C, Mulder R, Bridgman P, Kimber B, Zarifeh J, Kennedy M, Cameron V. Broken heart syndrome - Is it a psychosomatic disorder?. J Psychosom Res. 2014;77(2):158-60.
The development of somatoform illnesses is often associated with prior psychiatric illness and life stress. Broken heart syndrome has been associated with a range of stressors and we aimed to investigate if psychiatric illnesses are risk factors for developing broken heart syndrome.

We systematically assessed for antecedent psychiatric risk factors in two groups of cases (people who developed sporadic and earthquake-related broken heart syndrome) and compared them to a control group of healthy volunteers.

We found that of the ten psychiatric risk factors examined, only 'neuroticism' significantly differed between participants with broken heart syndrome and healthy volunteers.

There was no association between previous psychiatric illness and development of broken heart syndrome in this study. Clinical assessment of psychiatric risk factors may not identify patients at increased risk of broken heart syndrome.