After Dog The Bounty Hunter was hospitalized over a cardiac ‘emergency,’ a doctor explains EXCLUSIVELY to us how his ‘broken heart’ over losing his wife, Beth Chapman, could have triggered this health scare.
It’s been a rough year for Duane “Dog The Bounty Hunter” Chapman. The 66-year-old bounty hunter and reality TV star lost his wife, Beth Chapman, in June and he nearly came close to losing his own life this past weekend. Duane was hospitalized around Sept. 14 after reportedly suffering a “heart emergency.” It’s unclear what happened, but there are reports that this scare was triggered by the stress over Beth’s death. Could Dog The Bounty Hunter legitimately die from a “broken heart?” Dr. Reed Wilson, a Beverly Hills GP & Cardiologist, speaks EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about why it’s not so far-fetched.
HollywoodLife: Could stress or grief have triggered his heart attack? If so, how common is this? What should he be doing now to take care of himself beyond resting?
Dr. Reed Wilson: First of all, we have no idea what the risk factors for Mr. Chapman are. He could easily be at risk for a heart attack in spite of his wife’s recent passing. The major risk factors for heart attack are smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history, and diabetes. There are several other risk factors. All of these could lead to him experiencing coronary artery disease, which is a blockage in the arteries to the heart resulting in low blood flow. In regards to stress and heart attacks, different people react to stress in different ways. When stress is marked, you can raise your blood pressure and make you more prone if you were near a tipping point. Stress can alter your lifestyle so that you smoke more or eat less well or drink too much or not exercise.
Interestingly there is another even rarer condition called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which is a condition brought on by stress and marked emotions that can cause the same symptoms as a heart attack. The other name for this is the “broken heart syndrome.” No underlying heart disease is necessary for this condition.
Also, in general, widows and widowers are more likely to die than those with living spouses, and this effect appears more pronounced in the first 3 months.
What are the symptoms of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy?
It can be pretty similar to a heart attack, and actually, even have EKG changes similar to a heart attack. The heart even looks like it had a heart attack with areas of the muscle moving abnormally. These abnormal areas recover, usually, in time. Real heart attacks damage heart muscle permanently.
You can die of this “broken heart syndrome.” Both heart attacks and broken heart syndrome can lead to bad heart rhythms.
What would Dog be doing to recover?
This is difficult to say at this point. We are speculating because of lack of information. It doesn’t appear he had any significant heart issue because he went home very quickly.
That’s because they didn’t keep him in longer?
I suspect. I thought since [Dog] went home the next day, he did not have any major pathology which would require observation. Usually, with cardiac symptoms people go to the hospital. Blood test are performed looking for heart damage and EKG’s are performed looking for abnormalities. Depending on the results people are frequently sent for CT angiograms or actual angiograms. In CT angiograms, the heart and its arteries are looked at non-invasively. In actual angiograms, a tube is placed in the artery of the arm and passed to the heart and the arteries are visualized. I suspect that one of these pathways was traveled for this individual.
Do people sometimes have anxiety, and it mimics a heart attack or something?
Absolutely. You can have chest pain with anxiety. You can have chest pain, racing pulse, high blood pressure. In the case of anxiety, we would call this a panic attack.