Da Costa's Syndrome

Da Costa’s Syndrome was initially thought to be a heart disease but it was later verified to be a psychiatric condition. This term is attributed to Jacob Mendes Da Costa, an American physician who described the syndrome during the American Civil War when the illness was popularly called “soldier’s heart”.

Da Costa called the condition “irritable heart” as the symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue after minor exertion, sweating, palpitations, and chest pain. These symptoms were reported by several soldiers who remarkably returned to excellent health just after having some days or weeks of rest. The International Classification of Diseases classifies this syndrome under “somatoform autonomic dysfunction” which is characterized by physical complaints involving an organ or a system without organic basis.

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