Sanders’s doctors declare him healthy after October heart attack
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released letters from three doctors on Monday showing he is “fit and ready to serve as president” after suffering a heart attack earlier this year.
“You are in good health currently and you have been engaging vigorously in the rigors of your campaign, travel and other scheduled activities without any limitation,” said Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress who has served as Sanders’s primary physician for the past 29 years.
Sanders briefly left the campaign trail in October after suffering a heart attack and undergoing a procedure to receive stents.
Sanders, who is 78 years old, would be the oldest president ever elected if he wins the November election.
The Vermont senator took a short time away from campaigning and briefly scaled back his events, but he appeared on stage at a Democratic debate only two weeks after the heart attack.
Sanders is a top contender for the Democratic nomination and is in a fierce battle against former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with the Iowa caucuses only 35 days away.
Monahan said he last examined Sanders on Dec. 19 and that the senator underwent a treadmill exercise at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC) to monitor his heart function.
That test found no evidence of reduced blood flow or “symptoms limiting your exercise performance,” Monahan said.
The campaign released letters from two other doctors who witnessed the treadmill session and testified to Sanders’s heart health.
“Mr. Sanders was able to exercise to a level that is approximately 50% higher than other men his age with a similar diagnosis,” wrote Dr. Philip Ades, the director of cardiac rehabilitation at UVMC. “Mr. Sanders is more than fit enough to pursue vigorous activities and an occupation that requires stamina and an ability to handle a great deal of stress.”
The doctors said Sanders’s progress has been good enough that he was able to stop taking the blood thinners and beta blockers he was prescribed after the heart attack.
The campaign released further medical information about Sanders beyond his heart health, saying that in the past he has been treated for “gout, hypereholesterolemia, diverticulitis, hypothyroidism, laryngitis secondary to esophageal reflux, lumbar strain, and complete removal of superficial skin lesions.”
Sanders takes atorvastatin, aspirin, clopidogrel, levothyroxine, and lisinopril every day, and has in the past been treated for a cyst on his vocal cord and two hernias.
But otherwise, the doctors found that Sanders is in good health and said he exercises regularly, does not use tobacco and rarely drinks alcohol.
“At this point, I see no reason he cannot continue campaigning without limitation and, should he be elected, I am confident he has the mental and physical stamina to fully undertake the rigors of the Presidency,” wrote Dr. Martin M. LeWinter, who is Sanders’ personal cardiologist at UVMC.
Updated at 2:55 p.m.