Too much wasabi leads to ‘broken heart syndrome’ in 60-year-old woman

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A 61-year-old woman reported to an emergency room last year reporting chest pains. Doctors found she had takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or "broken heart syndrome." It has similar symptoms as a heart attack but no arteries are blocked. The woman said she was "close to inconsolable" after the death of Meha, her dog.

The woman was at a wedding and thought the wasabi was avocado

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart’s left ventricle — its main pumping chamber. It’s often called “broken heart syndrome.”

Broken heart syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a temporary heart condition often caused by stress, such as loss of a loved one or serious physical injury. Symptoms often mimic a heart attack.

» Broken-heart syndrome: Can you die from a broken heart?

It’s believed former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized with takotsubo cardiomyopathy the day after his wife’s funeral. And a woman in Texas was diagnosed with it after her dog died.

But the most unusual case might be of a 60-year-old woman who went to the emergency room with chest pains. Doctors determined she was suffering from broken heart syndrome brought on by eating wasabi.

According to the case report, published in BMJ, the woman was at a wedding in Israel and thought the wasabi was avocado. Even though wasabi tastes like hot mustard or horseradish, the woman consumed about a teaspoon of the paste.

» This Texas woman's heart literally broke when her dog died, doctors say

She experienced chest pain that spread to her arms, but didn’t leave the wedding, the case report states. The next day she felt weak, so she decided to go to the hospital. An echocardiogram showed damage to her left ventricle that was consistent with takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

After a month of treatment, the woman's heart appears to be working normally, the Washington Post reported.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of takotsubo cardiomyopathy triggered by wasabi consumption,” the case report states.

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