Examination of Chopin’s pickled coronary heart solves riddle of his early demise


The wonderful Polish composer and pianist experienced a morbid anxiety of premature burial. “The earth is suffocating,” he told a person of his sisters as he lay on his loss of life bed in 1849. “Swear to make them cut me open up, so that I will not be buried alive.”

An autopsy was duly performed to consider to remedy the mysterious induce of the 39-calendar year-old’s dying. His coronary heart was eliminated and afterwards stored in a jar of cognac, then interred in a church pillar in Poland.

Now experts have taken advantage of Chopin’s morbid need. Granted a rare prospect to analyze his pickled coronary heart, they have concluded the musician was a sufferer of pericarditis, a uncommon complication of continual tuberculosis.

The prognosis, posted in the American Journal of Medicine very last 7 days, is the latest and most convincing foray into the extensive-running dispute more than the probable cause of Chopin’s slow decline and loss of life in his 30s. Other recommended leads to of his debilitation and loss of life have included the inherited condition cystic fibrosis alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, a fairly rare genetic ailment that leaves folks susceptible to lung bacterial infections and mitral stenosis, a narrowing of the heart valves.

But when the scientists examined the jar containing Chopin’s heart – retained in the crypt of the Holy Cross church in Warsaw – they famous the coronary heart was included with a good coating of white fibrous materials. In addition, modest lesions were visible, the telltale indicators of , concluded the group.

“We didn’t open the jar,” group chief Professor Michael Witt of the Polish Academy of Sciences instructed the Observer. “But from the point out of the coronary heart we can say, with significant probability, that Chopin experienced from tuberculosis whilst the complication pericarditis was almost certainly the speedy bring about of his dying.”

The new review is the latest chapter in the weird tale of Chopin’s heart. The composer died in October 1849 in Paris and the rest of his remains lie in the city’s Père Lachaise cemetery, also the previous resting position of Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Nevertheless, his status as a Polish countrywide hero ensured his coronary heart turned embroiled in controversy.

Shortly just after he died his sister Ludwika smuggled his heart into his homeland previous guards from Russia (which then dominated Poland) and it was sealed inside of the Holy Cross church.

In the course of the Warsaw uprising in 1944, the coronary heart was supplied to a large-position SS officer who professed to be a Chopin admirer. It was then kept in the neighborhood German substantial command headquarters right before remaining returned to the church at the conclusion of the next environment war.

The examination of the heart by Witt and colleagues was the initial given that 1945. “We observed it is still correctly sealed in the jar,” claimed Witt. “Some people today nonetheless want to open up it in order to consider tissue samples to do DNA assessments to guidance their strategies that Chopin had some type of genetic situation. That would be unquestionably wrong. It could demolish the coronary heart and in any case I am quite certain we now know what killed Chopin.”