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 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, interestingly, 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. And some wall motion or heart area that’s reversibly damaged. In fact, but it comes back, whereas a heart attack would be irreversible.
It could absolutely kill somebody. If you had too many arrhythmias, you could die from it. People have died of, we’d say it has that broken heart syndrome associated with it.
What would Dog be doing to recover?
I don’t think he has that because he went home and you would have seen some damage of the heart on the angiogram with normal coronaries. So I suspect, I can’t tell you for sure. I suspect he didn’t have this, but it’s just an interesting phenomenon.”
That’s because they didn’t keep him in longer?
I suspect. I thought since [Dog] went home the next day, they might want to watch him. I don’t know what their policy is, but usually what you see is abnormalities in the wall motion of the heart, and it doesn’t function normally. So you’d want to watch that. If he had the angiogram and they sent him home right after the angiogram, it makes you wonder if he didn’t have any significant blockages and his heart function was normal, and therefore they sent him home. Now I don’t know if he had what was called a CT angio, which is a CT scan or a real angiogram, which is where they put a tube inside your body and actually take pictures of the arteries. So I don’t know which one he had. If someone comes into the hospital and you’re suspecting they have, first you run some blood tests and then you have a choice. You can try to work them up, and one of the quick ways is to do some type of CT angio real quick, depending on your suspicion. And then if the blood tests are negative, you can basically say this is not what this is.”
Do people sometimes have anxiety, and it mimics a heart attack or something?
Absolutely. You can have chest pain, anxiety. You can have chest pain, racing pulse, high blood pressure, and it’s similar to a panic attack.