October 7, 2019

After news broke that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, was hospitalized for chest pain on Tuesday, his campaign on Friday disclosed that he had suffered a heart attack and was treated at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center.

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Details on Sanders' heart attack

Jeff Weaver, a senior campaign adviser, in a statement said Sanders on Tuesday "experienced some chest discomfort" during a campaign event in Las Vegas, and then underwent a medical evaluation and testing. The tests revealed that Sanders had a blockage in one artery. Sanders underwent a procedure to place two stents to prop open his artery.

However, the campaign on Friday confirmed that Sanders had actually experienced a heart attack and released more details on Sanders' care.

According to the Times, Sanders initially was taken to an urgent care facility, and clinicians there determined that he needed to be transferred to a hospital. Sanders was then transferred to Desert Springs, where he was "immediately" taken into the cardiac catheterization laboratory to have two stents inserted into a blocked artery, the Times reports. According to campaign officials, by Thursday, he was walking laps around the hospital's hallway.

During his stay at Desert Springs, Sanders was treated by Arturo Marchand Jr. and Arjun Gururaj. They said Sanders' "hospital course was uneventful with good expected progress."

Mike Casca, a campaign spokesperson for Sanders, explained that the campaign delayed news of the heart attack so they could "give out the information all at once," when he was discharged.

In a tweet, Sanders praised the care he received.

Implications

The episode has prompted questions about Sanders' physical wellness going forward. Sanders, age 78, is the oldest candidate seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, and is five years older than President Trump, who is the oldest person to have been elected as a first-term president.

Jeremy Samuel Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital, wrote for Slate that heart attack recovery can vary.

"Often people are tired, and most can expect a reduction in their tolerance for exercise and stress. Some are immobilized and require prolonged rehabilitation," he wrote. "It's also true that some patients bounce back quickly and essentially return to normal."

"Often people are tired, and most can expect a reduction in their tolerance for exercise and stress. Some are immobilized and require prolonged rehabilitation," he wrote. "It's also true that some patients bounce back quickly and essentially return to normal."

Sanders' campaign said the senator still plans to attend the Democratic presidential debate in Ohio on Oct. 15, and said they have moved forward with the $1.3 million ad buy in Iowa that was put on hold immediately after his procedure (Collins, Wall Street Journal, 10/3; Associated Press, 10/4; Ember, New York Times, 10/4; Sullivan/Gardner, Washington Post, 10/5; Aleem, Vox, 10/5; Bernie Sanders tweet, 10/4).

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