Debbie Reynolds Broken Heart Syndrome: Was Rare Medical Condition Responsible For Her Death Following The Passing Of Her Daughter Carrie Fisher?

Chris PizzelloAP

The shocking deaths of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher brought an end to a year in which major celebrity deaths became a fairly regular occurrence. The deaths of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Debbie’s daughter, can be considered two of the saddest celebrity deaths of 2016.

Carrie Fisher And Debbie Reynolds
Carrie Fisher With Her Mother Debbie Reynolds Attending The Runway For Life Charity Fashion Show In 2003. [Jill Connelly/AP Photo, File]Featured image credit: Jill ConnellyAP Photo

On December 23, TMZ reported that Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack while flying from London to Los Angeles. The following day, USA Today reported that Fisher was in stable condition following her heart attack but was receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit at the UCLA Medical Center. On December 27, an announcement was made that Carrie Fisher had died at the age of 60-years-old.

Fans of Fisher barely had any time to process the death of the movie star before the world was rocked by another celebrity death. Carrie Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, had been declared dead on December 28.

Debbie’s son, and Carrie’s brother, Todd Fisher, commented to USA Today on the surprising death of his mother just one day after the death of his sister. Todd stated that Carrie’s death “was too much” for his mother.

“She said, ‘I want to be with Carrie,’ and then she was gone.”

“She held it together beautifully, obviously, for the last couple of days but she was under a lot of emotion and stress from the loss (of Fisher) and it’s pretty much what triggered this event.”

Todd’s comment about his mother wanting to be with her daughter and then passing away very shortly later have led many to discuss the possibility that Debbie Reynolds died from a rare medical condition known as broken heart syndrome.

What Is Broken Heart Syndrome?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, broken heart syndrome is a medical condition that mimics the symptoms of a heart attack and is said to be brought on by bouts of extreme stress. The first instance of broken heart syndrome being considered as an actual cause of death happened in Asia in 1990. The first case of its type occurred in the United States in 1998.

Due to broken heart syndrome being a relatively new diagnosis, not a lot is known. Medical experts speculate that the rare heart condition is brought on by an excessive amount of stress. The death of a loved one is considered to lead to a large amount of stress which is how broken heart syndrome was named.

How Is Broken Heart Syndrome Similar/Different To A Heart Attack?

As stated earlier, broken heart syndrome mimics a heart attack. A patient having a heart attack will have chest pain and shortness of breath as the most common symptoms. These two symptoms will also be present in a person experiencing broken heart syndrome. The major difference between the two medical conditions comes from what is actually inside of the heart.

A heart attack is caused by a blockage in the coronary artery. These blockages make it difficult or impossible for blood to be circulated properly in the heart which leads death of cardiac muscle. A person experiencing broken heart syndrome will have a fairly normal heart. Very little or no blockage is likely to be found.

It is extremely difficult to go through the grieving process of a loved one when it is so close to the holidays. The difficulty goes up in magnitude when multiple family members die within a short time frame.

The world has now started a new year. Let’s hope that this new year has less turbulence in it than 2016 did.

[Featured Image By Chris Pizzello/AP Images, File]