Scientists hope to recruit nearly 100 Scots to test the first treatment for a condition known as broken heart syndrome.
Researchers at the University of Aberdeen are studying how to help people with takotsubo cardiomyopathy – a condition that affects around 5,000 people across the UK each year.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a sudden weakening of the heart muscle, usually due to severe emotional or physical stress.
At least 7% of all heart attacks are caused by this condition.
The scientists will test a program of exercise and psychotherapy for those affected.
The work has been described as a “major step forward in the development of a standardized treatment” and is ongoing, with a £300,000 grant from the British Heart Foundation.
The new test aims to recruit 90 people from across Scotland, with participants signing up within three weeks of suffering an episode.
They would then be offered a personalized exercise conditioning program, a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) regimen, or be part of a control group.
Dr David Gamble, from the University of Aberdeen, said takotsubo cardiomyopathy “remains a relatively poorly understood condition”.
He added: “It was important for us to develop a high-quality evidence base to guide clinicians in the management of this condition.
Professor Dana Dawson, also from the university, said: “We already know that cardiovascular disease affects men and women differently, so there’s no reason why one approach would One-size-fits-all treatment is effective for broken heart syndrome.
“After so much research on this condition, it’s great to be taking this big step towards developing a standard treatment for it, and we look forward to seeing the results right.”
The study will last for the next three years.
The university has been at the forefront of research on this condition, gaining recognition only in the late 1990s.