Hopkins cardiologist Ilan Wittstein, M.D.
Broken-heart syndrome (also known as acute stress cardiomyopathy) is a medical term coined by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Heart Institute in Baltimore. The condition occurs when an emotional trauma makes the brain release so many stress hormones that heart muscles become paralyzed and almost stop pumping blood. The result is symptoms, such as chest pains and shortness of breath, that resemble a heart attack - but, unlike a heart attack, the condition is reversible. (So lovesickness probably won't kill you, but it could send you to the emergency room.)