When a close loved one dies, normal emotional trauma is accompanied by a greater risk of heart attack. But short-term preventive drug therapy may reduce the odds of experiencing this “broken heart,” cardiologists say.

Professor Geoffrey Tofler of the University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues found that low daily doses of a beta blocker and aspirin for six weeks following a bereavement successfully reduced spikes in blood pressure and heart rate. There were also positive changes in blood clotting tendency. The study was published in the American Heart Journal.