Ailments of the Aging Rock Star: Bono Edition

In our latest installment of Ailments of the Aging Rock Star, we talk about U2 front-man Bono, who was taken to the hospital briefly this weekend when he complained of chest pains and heart palpitations. The 51-year old Irish rocker was on vacation in Monaco at the time,  having recently completed their two year long 360° Tour. and was seen by heart specialists at Princess Grace Memorial Hospital.The physicians gave him a clean bill of health and told him that he just needed to “get some rest”. It was just last year that Bono had to undergo back surgery after an injury he suffered while preparing for a tour.

Palpitations are feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard or too fast. You may have these feelings in your chest, throat, or neck. They can occur during activity or even when you’re sitting still or lying down.

Many things can trigger palpitations, including:

  • Strong emotions
  •  Vigorous physical activity
  • Medicines such as diet pills and decongestants
  • Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs
  • Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disease or anemia

These factors make the heart beat faster or stronger than usual, or they cause occasional premature (extra) heartbeats. In these situations, the heart is still working normally, and the palpitations usually are harmless.
Sometimes palpitations are symptoms of an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. Sometimes this is a sign of a heart condition, such as heart attack, heart failure, heart valve problems, or heart muscle problems. However, less than half of the people who have palpitations have arrhythmias.

People can reduce or prevent palpitations by avoiding things that trigger them (such as stress and stimulants) and treating related medical conditions.

Here’s a little video of Bono and The Edge singing an acoustic version of “Stuck in a Moment.” Enjoy and de-stress…

Have you ever had palpitations? Did you have to go to the doctor for them?


Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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