Woman diagnosed with “broken heart syndrome” after death of beloved dog

(WSVN) - Doctors treating a woman for what they believed was symptoms of a heart attack later discovered the source of her pain was actually a broken heart.

Joanie Simpson’s ordeal originally took place in 2016; however, it was recently detailed in the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the Washington Post, Simpson was stressed due to her son’s impending back surgery and her son-in-law had just lost his job. However, what she believes took her over the edge was the death of her Yorkshire terrier, Meha.

“I was close to inconsolable,” she told the newspaper. “I really took it really, really hard.”

Meha was diagnosed with congenital heart failure, so Simpson decided it would be best to have her dog euthanized. But when it appeared that Meha was making a recovery, she decided against it and canceled the appointment. Sadly, Meha died the very next day.

“It was such a horrendous thing to have to witness,” Simpson told The Washington Post. “When you’re already kind of upset about other things, it’s like a brick on a scale. I mean everything just weighs on you.”

After Meha’s death, Simpson began experiencing back pain, which traveled to her chest. She went to the emergency room, where she was then airlifted to another medical center when doctors believed she was having a heart attack.

The Washington Post reports that doctors later diagnosed Simpson with takotsubo cardiomyopathy, commonly known as “broken heart syndrome.” Symptoms can mimic those of a heart attack and it can cause weakening of the left ventricle.

Simpson now takes medication to monitor her heart. However, she said that despite her heartache, she would still love to have another pet.

“They give so much love and companionship that I’ll do it again. I will continue to have pets. That’s not going to stop me,” she said.

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