San Antonio Express-News, December 26, 1998

Elizabeth Neus

Doctor Connects Pain to Concert

Washington - Anyone who's ever been to a rock concert knows you can feel the music in your chest, but one Fleetwood Mac fan recovering from heart surgery has taken that concept to its limit.

His doctor says the music at a concert the 40-year-old man attended two weeks after coronary bypass surgery was so "intensely loud" that the vibrations reignited severe pain in the man's healing incision - a "Fleetwood Mac attack."

As more boomers reach the age where they may need heart surgery, said Dr. Stuart Rosenbush, more cardiac doctors may want to warn them of this possible post-surgical side effect.

"This syndrome was not reported in the previous generation of patients who underwent coronary bypass surgery, probably because they did not attend events where the sound volume approached the levels found at rock concerts," Rosenbush wrote in a letter to Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an era where 50-somethings are taking their grandchildren to see the pushing-60 Rolling Stones, this may happen more and more often, he said. He wrote the letter partly to alert other cardiologists, and partly because he thought medical journals needed more "lightness."

Rosenbush, a cardiologist at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago and himself a Stones/Jefferson Airplane/Beatles fan, outlined the unusual case in his letter:

The man's surgery was uneventful. He left the hospital five days after the operation, and a week later, the pain in his sternum - cracked open so doctors could get to his heart - was nearly gone.

Fifteen days after he left the hospital, the man went to the Fleetwood Mac concert. He was properly cautious with his healing wound - no twirling in the aisles for this fan.

An hour into the concert, the man's chest began to hurt so badly that he left early. The next day it was so painful that upper body movements and deep breathing were difficult.

"He wasn't sure what it was," Rosenbush said in an interview. "He had the discomfort and was concerned that something was wrong. He didn't make the connection (with the concert), but to me, it was pretty clear."

"I think this was just the fact that it was a bone wound early in its healing process," Rosenbush said. "This is just a different kind of trauma. After a few days, he was fine."

Thanks to Classic for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.