October 20th, 2008
01:21 PM ET
7 months ago

Vice-presidential candidate Biden releases medical records

Vice-presidential candidate Biden releases medical records .
Vice-presidential candidate Biden releases medical records .

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, 65, released his medical records Monday, detailing the treatment of two brain aneurysms in 1988 along with other, mostly minor medical problems.

Biden has had no subsequent aneurysms and has since undergone appropriate screening, according to Dr. Matthew Parker, who spoke on behalf of Biden's physician, Dr. John Eisold, the official attending physician for Congress. Said Parker, "Everything that was supposed to be done is being done."

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon, said that after 20 years, it's unlikely that the aneurysm history would pose a risk today. Additional aneurysms can be detected by MRI scanning, but the records released Monday do not indicate what, if any, screening has been done in the past two decades. Questioned by reporters on a conference call, a campaign official said those records would be located and released.

Listen: Biden's doctors discuss his health on a conference call.

Biden's brush with death came two decades ago, just months after he gave

up one of his early campaigns for president. Biden, who had suffered headaches
for weeks, found himself with a headache so severe that he lay down in a fetal position, then passed out for five hours. Upon awakening, he made it to a hospital, where doctors discovered a ruptured aneurysm - a condition so severe that a priest was called in to say the last rites, he said.

A brain aneurysm is a bulging blood vessel that occurs when a spot in the vessel weakens and blood pressure forces it out like a balloon. A ruptured aneurysm is generally extremely painful - many doctors say it is typically the most painful headache a person will ever experience. About half of ruptured aneurysms prove fatal, and many others lead to lifelong disability.

Neurosurgeons at Walter Reed Hospital were able to save Biden's life by putting a metal clip on the artery to stop the bleeding. Biden also survived a blood clot that lodged in his lung as he recuperated. Through screening, a second aneurysm was discovered a few months later and surgically removed before it burst. According to the medical records released Monday, Biden's health is generally good. He suffers occasional back pain, as well as chronic sinusitis and severe seasonal allergies dating back to childhood, when asthma was diagnosed. Earlier this year he underwent surgery to correct the sinus condition, a relatively common and minor procedure.


In 2006, he suffered an episode of atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat. He underwent a stress test - technically known as a stress echocardiogram - and doctors concluded that the fibrillation was a lone episode with no underlying heart disease. They chalked it up to Biden's busy lifestyle and lack of exercise. After that episode, the senator began taking aspirin as a blood thinner.

He also takes Zocor to control cholesterol, Claritin for allergies and Flomax to aid urination. Biden's cholesterol reading is 173, with an HDL level ("good"cholesterol) of 47. Both are within a healthy range.

The records also show the senator has undergone PSA screening tests for prostate cancer, with normal (healthy) results.

Biden's Republican counterpart, Gov. Sarah Palin, 44, has not released any medical information.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, 47, also has not released records; his campaign did release a one-page summary of those records, which concluded concluded that he is in excellent health.

The campaign of Sen. John McCain has derided Obama for running "on a doctor's note." McCain, 72, this spring offered reporters a glimpse of more than 1,100 pages of medical records, many dealing with the removal of four melanomas - skin cancers. Like Biden, McCain did not release those records and did not allow reporters to take pictures or make photocopies.


Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Noemi in Los Angeles

    God Bless you "Joe our VP"

    October 20, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. No McPain

    OK, Sarah, you are the only one that won't release your health records? Have you finished getting them altered yet? You have to come up with them now. What are you hiding? Are the rumors true? The defendant won't take the stand.......... we presume guilt.

    October 20, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Hillary Democrat

    Did his medical records say what will BOTOX do to his health. Did you see him during the VP Debate? IT was bad. NO SOCIALISM, NO WAY, NO HOW, NOBAMA. VOTE MCCAIN in 2008 and HILLARY In 2012.

    October 20, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Countdown with Keith Olbermann

    If Senator McCain is truly a patriot and puts his country first always, then he will step down as the republican nominee and endorse Obama. Who knows, he just may be mavericky enough to do it!

    October 20, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. Hillary Democrat

    Just voted early. Voted for Obama 26 times. THanks ACORN.

    October 20, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. linda from South Dakota

    obviously,, many are very anrgy and this may be a result of mccain when he spoke and almost had a riot and maybe this is why thses people are angry,, but re: angry people,, have you done your research on this mccain you proudly say you are voting got?? if you did,, you may have noticed that he has supported bush many many times,,,, hes for the war,, remember he said the war could go for 100 years ,, he didnt care,,, hes also a very angry man with a short short temper,,,, do you research,, look up mccain-military and read on about what his prisoner friends say about him? he complains about his bad treatment,, well my friends ,, he was treated way better than over 99% of the prisoners,,, he had clean sheets and a bed,, while others lay in holes in the ground,, and suffered way more than mccain,, he has his followers so buffalo-ed... plus many of you angry people have never cam eto grips with your repdijuce,,, grow up and get over it ,, ,,,,OBAMA/BIDEN 08 AND BEYOND

    October 20, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. aware

    Biden is in worse shape than McCain!

    But, it would be midnight in America if Obama/Biden stole this election! :(

    Remember: "Reveille for Radicals" and "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky, Obama's most favored tutor!

    Obama is a socialist in the Marxist vein! This “citizen of the world” a line taken from a Saul Alinsky book, would step over a weakened America on his way to strengthening a global group, like the United Nations, but with real power!

    Obama always overreaches, and he has his arrogant, lust for power, antenna focused on a world dictator position.

    October 20, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Lina

    He warned us last year that Obama wasn;t ready to be president and yesterday has basically asked us to be patient if Obama is president because he will make major mistakes! Wow how revealing! Well at least he's honest. But then again this was at a fundraiser and he forgot about the media! oops!

    October 20, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Jenifer Coronado

    I am a independant and i have never cared for the democrats but lately i feel that no matter what the color of the canidates vote for the one who makes sense. OBAMA / BIDEN that is honestly sincere politics to me and i am very uninspired by the hatefulness of the mccain/palin ticket and i feel that before one starts to spout off about ones background they bshould make sure they dont have any skelatons in thier closets like AIG Palin who you been pallin around with? Who has Todd been pallin around with?

    Vote OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Hey racist and xenophobic Rush Limbaugh...you are yet another reason I have to further question white male governance and corporate "leadership". Our diversity is our strength, and your ignorant perspectives (and those who share them) are our demise. Obama/ Biden will win BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST CHOICE. You are a disgrace to my ancestry!

    WHITE MALE HOCKEY DAD OBAMA/ BIDEN '08 !!!

    October 20, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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