LAS VEGAS, NV.- Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will be taking a break from the presidential campaign trail after a undergoing a coronary stent procedure Tuesday in Las Vegas.
“This is clearly a cloud that is going to hang over his candidacy,” said Garrison Nelson, a political author and longtime professor at the University of Vermont.
Nelson says voters will have their eyes on Sanders like never before.
“Keeping track of how many campaign events he misses,” he said. ”How does he look when he gets back? Is he hesitant, has he lost weight?”
According to the Sanders’ presidential campaign, the 78 year-old was taken to the hospital after experiencing “discomfort” in his chest. Doctors discovered a blocked artery and inserted two stents.
“It’s a common treatment,” said Dr. Harold Dauerman, a cardiologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. “80% of the people we treat are not critically ill,”
Dauerman says the hospital performs 2,200 stent procedures every year which are typically used to treat coronary artery disease.
“A routine physical, whether you’re a presidential candidate or you’re here working in Vermont at any other job, is likely not to pick up coronary artery disease if you don’t have symptoms,” he said.
Dauerman says based on the campaign’s statement, the senator did not suffer a heart attack.
“Coronary artery disease presents as Angina, which is a chest discomfort when someone is exerting themselves,” he said.
Dauerman, who has never personally treated the senator, said he’ll be put on medication likely for the rest of his life.
“It would not prevent him from returning to his campaign,” he said.
However, Sanders has cancelled all appearance until further notice including a gun forum scheduled for Wednesday night Las Vegas.
“You occupy a particular niche and when you’re not there, other people are going to try and run in and try to fill that niche,” said Nelson.