Joe Biden is 'healthy, vigorous,' his doctor says in summary of medical history
Posted December 17, 2019 4:10 p.m. EST
CNN — Joe Biden's campaign released a summary of his medical history Tuesday, including his doctor's conclusion that the former vice president would be physically able to handle the presidency.
The 2020 Democratic contender's release also includes the results of a physical exam by Dr. Kevin O'Connor, Biden's primary care doctor since 2009 and the director of executive medicine at The George Washington Medical Faculty Associates.
O'Connor wrote that Biden is "a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency."
Biden is being treated for non-valvular atrial fibrillation, or AFib -- an irregular heartbeat that O'Connor said Biden experiences no symptoms of. He takes Crestor to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as Eliquis to prevent blood clots, Nexium for acid reflux, and Allegra and a nasal spray for seasonal allergies.
"He takes three common prescription medications and two common over-the-counter medications," O'Connor wrote. "He has no known medical allergies. He does not use any tobacco products, does not drink alcohol at all, and he works out at least five days a week."
O'Connor wrote that Biden measured at 5 feet, 11 2/3 inches and 178 pounds, with a body mass index of 24.38.
The most significant medical event in Biden's history, his doctor wrote, came in 1988, when he suffered a brain aneurysm. During surgery, doctors found a second aneurysm that had not bled, which they also treated.
"He has never had any recurrences of any aneurysms," O'Connor wrote.
During his hospitalization after that surgery, Biden, who was in the Senate at the time, suffered deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism. Doctors at the time inserted an "inferior vena cava filter," which would prevent future blood clots from reaching the heart and lungs, and treated him with an oral anti-coagulant for several months.
Biden's gallbladder was removed in 2003, and he's had multiple surgeries and physical treatments for orthopedic injuries and sports medicine, O'Connor wrote.
He has had several non-melanoma skin cancer lesions surgically removed, which O'Connor described as a result of Biden -- who often talks about working as a lifeguard growing up -- spending "a good deal of time in the sun in his youth." Biden has also had sinus and nasal surgeries.
Biden's release of his medical history comes as the leading 2020 contenders -- mostly in their 70s -- face questions about their health.
President Donald Trump, 73, was described after a physical exam in February by his doctor as in "very good health overall" but clinically obese.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is 70, released her medical records earlier this month featuring a positive review from her doctor, who said that Warren's one medical condition is hypothyroidism, and that she takes levothyroxine every day to restore her thyroid hormones to normal levels.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78, who suffered a heart attack in October, has vowed to release his medical records ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
Biden has had some testy exchanges with reporters and voters when pressed about his health in recent months.
Asked in September by a reporter whether he would release his medical records, Biden said he would, then joked: "What health concerns, man? You want to wrestle?"
And earlier this month in New Hampton, Iowa, Biden had a tense exchange with a voter, who said he was 83 years old and did not have the mental faculties that he did when he was younger. The voter challenged Biden over his age and also questioned the former vice president about his son Hunter's business interests in Ukraine.
"The reason I'm running is because I've been around a long time and I know more than most people know. And I can get things done. That's why I'm running," a visibly frustrated Biden said. "And if you want to check my shape, let's do push-ups together man. Let's run, let's do whatever you want to do. Let's take an IQ test."