RESEARCHERS at a Scottish university are set to trial the first-ever treatment for broken heart syndrome. 

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen will trial a programme of exercise conditioning and psychological therapy for people who have been diagnosed with the condition thanks to a £300,000 grant from the British Heart Foundation.

What is broken heart syndrome? 

Broken heart syndrome, otherwise known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, affects around 5000 people in the UK each year.

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At least 7% of all heart attacks are diagnosed as broken heart syndrome, with women far more likely to experience the condition than men. 

Professor James Leiper, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation described takotsubo syndrome as "a sudden and potentially catastrophic heart condition which has only been recognised in recent years."

Meanwhile, Dr David Gamble from the University of Aberdeen said: “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome, remains a comparatively poorly understood condition. It is vital that we develop a high-quality evidence base to guide clinicians in the management of this condition.

What will the broken heart syndrome trial involve?

In a study that spans three years, the trial will recruit 90 people from across Scotland within three weeks of them experiencing an episode, with all participants receiving detailed heart investigations at baseline and again at three months.

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Participants will take part in either personalised exercise conditioning, a programme of cognitive behavioural therapy or be part of a control group.