Bernie Sanders had a heart attack, campaign says as senator leaves hospital

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Democratic candidate feeling so much better after being taken to into care with chest discomfort on Tuesday

Bernie Sanders had a heart attack, his campaign confirmed Friday, as the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate was released from the hospital.

The 78-year-old was at a campaign event in Nevada on Tuesday when he experienced chest discomfort and was taken to a hospital. He was transferred to Desert Springs hospital medical center where doctors inserted two stents to open up a blocked artery in his heart, according to a statement from the Las Vegas doctors. The doctors said the rest of his arteries were normal.

In a video posted to Twitter on Friday, Sanders said he was feeling so much better and thanked supporters for the love and warm wishes you send me.

A heart attack, which can be caused by a blocked artery, occurs when an area of the heart is suffering and in danger of damage because its not getting enough blood or oxygen.

On Saturday, Sanders left Las Vegas and was returning to Vermont.

Senator Bernie Sanders boards a plane in Las Vegas on his way back home to Vermont Photograph: John Locher/AP

An artery-opening procedure like the one Sanders had, and placing stents, which act like tiny scaffolds to keep the artery open, restores blood flow and helps prevent future problems.

The statements from Sanders and his doctors do not indicate whether his heart suffered any permanent damage, or the extent of any. The doctors said the rest of his stay before being discharged Friday was uneventful with good expected progress.

The campaign also released a statement from Sanders in which he thanked the doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

After two and a half days in the hospital, I feel great, and after taking a short time off, I look forward to getting back to work, he said.

He is expected to return to Vermont and has said he plans to appear at the next Democratic debate, on 15 October.

This marks the second time in two months that health problems forced Sanders to cancel campaign events. In September, he backed out of some appearances in South Carolina because he lost his voice. His campaign said at the time that Sanders felt fine.

As the oldest candidate in the Democratic 2020 field, Sanders has sometimes jokingly referenced his age on the campaign trail. He is one of three septuagenarians who are leading the crowded race and have sparked questions within the party about whether Democrats need to coalesce around a younger leader. Donald Trump is 73.

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