[A] local Carlisle lady has paid tribute to staff at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle after she was admitted with chest pains which started during Rod Stewart’s concert at Brunton Park on Tuesday evening (21 June).
A cardiologist at the hospital has since diagnosed Mrs Graham (70) with a rare condition known as ‘broken heart syndrome’.
Mrs Graham attended the concert with her daughter and was looking forward to hearing Rod’s classic hits. They enjoyed the support act and then Rod made his entrance. She describes the pain she felt as if she was jolted by the noise and vibrations coming from the stage. Mrs Graham said: “It started the minute Rod came on stage. I thought it must have been heartburn and I tried to just enjoy the concert but the pain was constant. My husband picked us up after the concert and the pain persisted through the night so I went to my GP the following morning who decided to admit me to hospital.”
At the Infirmary, Mrs Graham quickly received an angiogram and Dr Madhusudhan Varma, consultant interventional cardiologist, later diagnosed her with the rare takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome.
Dr Varma explains: “Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that’s often brought on by stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one. People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they are having a heart attack. There is a temporary disruption of your heart’s normal pumping function, while the remainder of the heart functions normally or even with more forceful contractions.
“The syndrome is associated with a reaction to a surge of stress hormones and is treatable. It is nicknamed ‘broken heart’ as it has been associated with people suffering bereavement. It is unusual to see it happen when somebody is more likely to be feeling elation at an event such as a live concert and I will certainly be carrying out some research into Mrs Graham’s case.”
Mrs Graham, who suffered a mild heart attack five years ago, is keen to praise the care she has received at the Cumberland Infirmary. She said: “I have had brilliant care from the moment I arrived in the A&E department on Wednesday and I didn’t expect to have an angiogram within 20 minutes of being admitted. The doctors and nurses have all been excellent and cant’ do enough for you.
“My daughter asked if I’d like another chance to see Rod Stewart but not if this happens again!”