Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has refused to release further medical information about an MI he suffered last October, leaving much of the public with questions about his heart health. Now, the president of the American College of Cardiology, Richard Kovacs, is arguing some of those questions could be answered with one simple metric: left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).
In an NBC exclusive published Feb. 24, Kovacs told the outlet that doctors’ letters released by Sanders’ campaign in December failed to include measures of the senator’s LVEF, which is widely regarded as a key indicator of CV health. Sanders said his team “released the full report” of his heart attack last year, though no comprehensive records have been made public to date.
Sanders’ heart attack, which he suffered while on the campaign trail in Las Vegas, was first classified as a blocked artery, according to earlier reports, and he underwent two stent placements to address the clot. Three days after the event, his campaign confirmed it had been an MI.
Kovacs reviewed Sanders’ doctors’ letters and said that while no LVEF figure is included, the records “imply with the heart attack that he had diminished heart muscle strength,” or a lowered fraction. But physicians’ letters since then, as well as a positive stress test last month, suggest Sanders is on the up and up.
Kovacs said that in one letter, a physician called Sanders’ heart condition “stable and well-preserved.”
“I don’t know what that means, but it’s not the ejection fraction, which is just a simple number,” he told NBC. “They’ve chosen not to reveal the ejection fraction.
“It’s a patient’s personal private information, but there's the importance of the number.”
Read the full report below: