Fetterman talks about the extent of his heart problems: "I stayed away from the doctor."
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, the Democratic candidate in what will be one of the toughest Senate races in the country, has a heart condition called cardiomyopathy. His doctor said in a statement on Friday that he also seems to have ignored other heart problems for years.
Last month, Mr. Fetterman had a stroke a few days before the Democratic primary. On the day of the primary, he had a pacemaker and defibrillator put in. His campaign said at the time that this was a standard procedure that would fix "the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation."
In the days that followed, his campaign didn't say much else about his health, but doctors questioned how the campaign described the use of a defibrillator. They pointed out that defibrillators aren't usually used for atrial fibrillation, but more often for conditions like cardiomyopathy, which is a weak heart muscle.
"I talked to John yesterday about how his stroke was caused by afib, but he also has a condition called cardiomyopathy," his doctor, Ramesh R. Chandra, wrote in a note. "I can tell you this about John's heart: if he takes his medicine, eats well, and works out, he'll be fine. If he does what I've told him to do, and I think he is this time, he should be able to campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate without any problems. The Mayo Clinic says that cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. "Heart failure can be brought on by cardiomyopathy."
Dr. Chandra said that the defibrillator and pacemaker seemed to be "working perfectly, and he is doing well."
Dr. Chandra also wrote that Mr. Fetterman was given medicine, lifestyle changes, and follow-up appointments after he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and a weaker heart pump in 2017. However, he "did not go to any doctor for 5 years and did not keep taking his medications."
Mr. Fetterman said in a statement, "Like so many other people, and especially so many men, I avoided going to the doctor even though I knew I wasn't feeling well." "As a result, I almost died. I want to warn people not to make the same mistake I did."
Dr. Chandra is Mr. Fetterman's cardiologist, but he was first taken care of at Lancaster General Hospital by other doctors after he had a stroke. No one has been able to ask them questions.
In 2001, a defibrillator was put into the body of former Vice President Dick Cheney. He served two terms as president, including a tough 2004 campaign to stay in office.
"Doctors have told me to keep resting, eating healthy, working out, and focusing on my recovery," Mr. Fetterman said. "That's exactly what I'm doing." "It will take me a little while longer to get back on the campaign trail like I was before the primary. It's frustrating, especially since it's my fault, but please be patient with me, I just need a little more time. I'm not quite back to 100% yet, but every day I get closer."
When he does go back on the campaign trail, it looks like Dr. Mehmet Oz, the famous TV doctor, will be his Republican opponent. David McCormick gave up the race to Dr. Oz on Friday, when a statewide recount was still going on in the Republican Senate primary and there was still no official race call.
In an interview on Friday, Ed Rendell, a former Democratic governor of the state and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said that he had no doubts about Mr. Fetterman's ability to serve. He said he didn't think voters would care much about Mr. Fetterman's health, so he didn't think it would be an issue.
"When I was governor, the Republicans used to say I was one cheese steak away from having a heart attack, but I never did," said Mr. Rendell.
The head of the Pennsylvania Democrats, Nancy Patton Mills, did not answer a request for comment right away on Friday. On Friday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee didn't say anything right away.
Since he had a stroke, Mr. Fetterman hasn't been on the campaign trail, but he has put out short videos every now and then. Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, tweeted on Friday afternoon that he and Mr. Fetterman and his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, had a "virtual double date." This was a sign that Mr. Fetterman was getting back into politics.
"I'm looking forward to many more this summer on the campaign trail!" Mr. Casey wrote something.