Biden Did Not Have Follow-Up MRI After Brain Surgery, Had Other “Tests”

By Kate Barrett

Oct 24, 2008 9:23am

ABC News’ Kate Snow, Matthew Jaffe, Susan Wagner and Joanna Schaffhausen Report: When Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden released his medical records Monday, the documents did not state whether he had had follow-up brain scans after his two 1988 brain aneurysms.

However, ABC News can now confirm that Biden has never had a follow-up MRI because the metal clips used on the aneurysms in 1988 are "not compatible" with that test, according to an Obama-Biden aide.

The aide said the Delaware senator did have tests of some kind following the 1988 surgery that showed he was "aneurysm free", but could not provide details of what these tests were or when and where they were performed.

In addition to a form of MRI, another test often used to detect brain aneurysms is a CT scan, sometimes called a CAT scan. A CT scan is a special type of X-ray that allows doctors to see weaknesses in the walls of brain arteries. It is possible that Biden might have had such a procedure, but again the campaign has not confirmed any specifics about any tests done.

Some doctors recommend brain scans to detect new problems after a patient goes through surgery to remove a brain aneurysm.  People who have suffered a brain aneurysm do have an increased, albeit small, risk of developing another aneurysm later in life.

Biden’s medical records released Monday showed that he appears to be in good health, as Dr. Matthew Parker, an internist in Washington, D.C., confirmed in a conference call with reporters. Parker has never treated or met Biden, but he reviewed a portion of the lawmaker’s medical records and consulted with Biden’s personal physician, Dr. John F. Eisold, the attending physician at the US Capitol, who does not speak to the media.

The Delaware lawmaker’s biggest health issue concerns two brain aneurysms he had surgery for in 1988. Dr. Eisold had written that Biden has "recovered fully without continued effects" from the aneurysm, but the records released Monday did not reveal whether or not Biden has had periodic brain imaging done since his surgeries.   

The campaign assured reporters that they would release additional records about follow-up brain scans, but they have yet to do so.

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