Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, December 30, 2016

Can You Really Die from a Broken Heart?

Broken heartDebbie Reynolds died from a stroke one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, passed. Given the situation, is it possible to die from a broken heart? Indeed, broken heart syndrome is real. The condition is also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, or takotsubo cardiomyopathy. This condition can happen in response to acute major stressors in life and people who have never had heart disease. Broken heart syndrome occurs when a part of the heart becomes enlarged and cannot pump well, often leaving the rest of the heart to work harder. This enlargement can cause irregular heartbeat, or the heart can become too weak to pump blood throughout the body, ultimately leading to death. Additionally, a 2014 study reported that a person’s risk for heart attack or stroke increases in the following month after a loved one passes.   

See Debbie Reynolds’ Death: Can You Die of a Broken Heart?, Fox News, December 30, 2016. 



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