Muti diagnosed with irregular heartbeat, gets pacemaker

Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 12:54 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The fainting spell last week that caused Riccardo Muti’s broken jaw and facial injuries was caused by a heart arrhythmia, and the conductor has had a pacemaker installed.

“The fainting spell was caused by a common heart rhythm disturbance,” said his attending physicians at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in a statement released late Friday afternoon. “Fortunately, the remainder of the Maestro’s medical evaluation has revealed that he has superb heart function. In order to prevent possible future episodes of slow heart rate, we have implanted a standard pacemaker.”

“I am so grateful to all of you for your support, caring and words from your hearts to mine,” said Muti in a released statement. “I am so disappointed that I was not able to share in the music making by our great Orchestra these past weeks. In my rehearsals, the Orchestra sounded like angels, and I wanted so much to make music together with them.

“A music director’s relationship with his orchestra is like a marriage. Together, we are a family and we bond in times of joy and in times of challenge. I think it was destiny that I came to Chicago and I think what has happened is also destiny, because now I understand and feel more comfortable than ever about returning to my work.”

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