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Takotsubo: The Three of Swords


This painting, utilizing oil and acrylic paints, was made in the midst of studying for my ongoing classes and boards.  There have been a couple diseases that have stuck with me throughout my studies.  This disease is a deep-sea themed illustration of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, more commonly known as “Broken Heart Syndrome.”  Unlike the many maladies of the heart, this one’s rarer and the pathophysiology behind it is not well understood.  What we do know is that there is sudden weakening of the left ventricle due to high catecholamine levels from a physical, mental, or emotional stressor.  These include events like the death of a loved one or divorce, hence the “broken” heart aspect of the illness.  Takotsubo itself means “octopus trap” in Japanese, hence why the left ventricle here has a vase with a tiny mollusc in it.  While there are no actual swords in the picture, I titled my piece the Three of Swords because Tarot normally uses that card to refer to rejection, betrayal, and heartbreak.  The description there fit perfectly with the syndrome, so I tried to represent this instead with the three tentacles in the depths of the sea, grabbing for the broken heart.

Ruchica Chandnani (4 Posts)

Managing Editor and Contributing Writer

Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine


Ruchica Chandnani is a second year medical student at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and a minor in Asian Languages and Culture. In her spare time, she likes watching cartoons and anime, writing, eating sweet and spicy food, and traveling (esp. solo traveling). Ruchica hopes to pursue a career in Psychiatry or Neurology and become an advocate for victims of trauma.