When It Happens
This condition is preceded by news that is disturbing, such as a bad medical diagnosis, loss of money, abuse, news of a death, fear of performing in public, an infection, major surgery, an asthma attack, a car accident or even a surprise party. A tremendous emotional shock can result in sudden and reversible heart failure that is not a classic heart attack. When a person is shocked or stress, it can lead to an outpouring of catecholamines, such as noradrenaline and adrenaline -- also known as norepinephrine and epinephrine -- into the blood stream along with small proteins and broken-down products that are emitted by the excited nervous system. These chemicals are toxic, temporarily, to the heart and stun the heart muscles. This produces symptoms that are very much like a heart attack. Doctors think these chemicals may cause the coronary arteries to spasm or cause calcium overload that results in temporary dysfunction.