Bernie Sanders was hospitalized yesterday after he “experienced some chest discomfort” during a campaign trip to Las Vegas, a senior adviser said in a statement today. The senator was subsequently “found to have a blockage in one artery, and two stents were successfully inserted."
This sounds scary, and it’s difficult to know exactly what it means for Sanders’s health. But there is evidence in the statement that Sanders will not necessarily be materially affected by the incident. Coronary stenting is one of the most common procedures in the United States. It involves feeding a wire up the femoral artery in the groin and into the heart, then inserting and expanding metallic coils to hold open the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It is used to treat coronary artery disease, the partial or complete blockage of the arteries and the most common cause of death worldwide.
Sanders is a 78-year-old American male working long hours at a high-stress job, so it is statistically expected that he would have some degree of coronary artery disease. As the average age of the presidential-candidate pool moves older, election after election, this is the primary health issue that will limit their abilities to carry out the duties of the office.