Woman Hospitalized With 'Broken Heart' After Losing Beloved Dog

Health - Inside Edition Staff

A 62-year-old grandmother in Texas was hospitalized with a broken heart after her beloved dog passed away. 

Joanie Simpson loves her pets and was especially close to her Yorkie, named Meja.

“She brought so much love [and] fun,” she told Inside Edition. “She was our little girl.” 

She was home alone when Meja died of congestive heart failure at 8 years old. Simpson was so overcome with grief that she was taken to a hospital four days later after complaining about chest pains. 

She said she found it hard to catch her breath. 

Simpson was airlifted by helicopter to Houston’s Memorial Hermann Medical Center, experiencing all the symptoms of a massive heart attack.   

But an angiogram revealed there was no heart attack. Doctors instead diagnosed her as suffering “takotsubo cardiomyopathy,” which is more commonly known as broken heart syndrome. 

“[There is] no way to tell broken heart syndrome from a heart attack,” her cardiologist, Dr. Shezhad Sami, said. 

Simpson’s incident occurred last year and was recently brought to light in the New England Journal of Medicine which said takotsubo cardiomyopathy "typically... occurs in post-menopausal women preceded by extreme stress or an emotional event."

Many believe Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds died of broken heart syndrome one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher

For Simpson, watching her beloved pet die before her eyes was more than her heart could bear.

“I lost my baby girl," she tearfully said. "My little companion."