A woman was hospitalized with "broken heart syndrome" after eating a "large amount" of wasabi that she thought was avocado.
The story of the unnamed, 60-year-old woman was detailed in a new volume of the medical journal BMJ Case Reports. The article, titled "Can sushi break your heart?" said the woman was at a wedding in Israel when the accident occurred.
She reportedly consumed a "large amount" of the spicy wasabi paste, thinking it was a mild, avocado-based dip. Within minutes, the woman felt a "sudden pressure" in her chest, which then spread to her arms.
That wasn't enough to convince her to leave the ceremony, though, and she endured the pain for several hours. The pain even started to die down by the end of the evening, so it wasn't until the following day — when she woke up feeling oddly weak — that she sought medical attention.
Doctors diagnosed her with "broken heart syndrome," a term that applies to people who experience symptoms similar to a heart attack following physical or emotional distress.
The condition, which is technically referred to as takotsubo cardiomyopathy typically affects women aged 58 to 75. In addition to physical causes, "broken heart syndrome" can also be brought on by life-altering events such as financial loss, frightening car accidents or after receiving bad news.
But this case was the first to be brought on by "food consumption alone," according to the BMJ article.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of takotsubo cardiomyopathy triggered by wasabi consumption," the researchers said.
Stories of emotionally based "broken heart syndrome" have made national news in recent months. In August, a 93-year-old woman died of the condition after a group of men broke into her home and stole a number of her possessions — including her late husband's prized watch.