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Bradley: 'I'm feeling great'

December 11, 1999
Web posted at: 6:14 p.m. EST (2314 GMT)

PALO ALTO, California (CNN) -- Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley says he's "feeling great" as his campaign goes back on schedule after a bout with an irregular heartbeat.

After a brief interruption because of an irregular heartbeat, Bradley is resuming his presidential campaign appearances  

The 56-year-old former U.S. senator from New Jersey told reporters Saturday that his heart condition is "just a nuisance" and that it won't affect his ability to continue campaigning. Bradley was diagnosed with the condition, called atrial fibrillation, in 1996, according to medical records released by his campaign.

"I exercise regularly on the Stairmaster," Bradley said. "The campaign is invigorating for me, it always has been and it always will. I'm having a terrific time doing it, my energy level is more than adequate, and anybody that has been campaigning with me for the last year would know we run a very full schedule," he said.

Bradley's news conference in California was his first public appearance since being sidelined by an irregular heartbeat Friday. The condition prompted Bradley to cancel scheduled campaign stops in California Friday evening and Seattle on Saturday.

Bradley said he does not expect his health to alter his campaign schedule in the future.

Sunday, he's expected to address the Florida State Democratic Convention in Orlando, aides said.

Gore wishes rival 'continued good health'

In Atlanta on Saturday, Vice President Al Gore wished his rival "continued good health" and said, "I hope to see him back on the campaign trail imminently."

Friday, Bradley was examined at a Redwood City, California, hospital after complaining of an irregular heartbeat Thursday. He was comfortable and in good spirits after being released from the hospital Friday evening, his spokesman, Eric Hauser, said.

"It corrected itself, and there was no treatment necessary," Hauser said.

"By the time he arrived at the hospital at 3:30 (Friday), he converted to a normal rhythm, and therefore no therapeutic interventions were necessary," said Edward Anderson, one of the doctors who examined the candidate.

Aides said Bradley is not on a special diet, but controls his heart condition with medication.

Campaign releases letter from physician

The Bradley campaign released results of a physical examination which the candidate underwent December 3. It included a letter from his physician, Dr. Robert Heissenbuttel of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

The letter noted that Bradley's 1996 diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, one type of an irregular heart rhythm, indicated "no precipitating cause nor any cardiac disease identified."

It said he had experienced "episodes" of irregular heartbeat four times over the next two years and had undergone two cardioversions in 1998.

Cardioversion is a treatment where the heart is given a mild electric shock to adjust its rhythm while the patient is under general anesthesia.

"Since May of 1998 after your third and last cardioversion," the letter said, "you have been treated with Procanbid," the trade name for procainamide, an anti-arrhythmic agent.

Since then, it said, "You have had two brief episodes of atrial fibrillation, which converted spontaneously. The medication has been effective in preventing or shortening the duration of the episodes and has been well tolerated with no side effects."

Atrial fibrillation is defined by the American Heart Association as a "quivering" in the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, causing the heart to pump blood inefficiently.


  VIDEO
VideoWatch presidential candidate Bill Bradley's news conference Saturday in Palo Alto, California
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VideoSenior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley reports on how how the health records of candidates have affected the careers of prominent politicians from Eisenhower to Bob Dole (December 11)
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  INTERACTIVE
Atrial fibrillation: A quivering in the heart

ELECTION 2000

Bush says national campaign strategy may account for lower New Hampshire poll numbers (12-9-99)

Des Moines Register: Candidates will question each other in Iowa debate (12-9-99)

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