Biden’s Medical Report Shows He’s Healthy, But Questions Remain

Oct 20, 2008 4:18pm

ABC News’ Susan Wagner & Matthew Jaffe Report: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., today released his medical records, which show that the Democratic vice-presidential nominee appears to be in good health, although questions remain about whether or not he has had follow-up brain scans after his two 1988 brain aneurysms.

Dr. Matthew Parker, an internist in Washington, DC, who reviewed a portion of Biden’s medical records, briefed reporters on a conference call arranged by the Obama-Biden campaign. Dr. Parker has never treated or met with Sen. Biden. He reviewed a 49-page summary provided by Biden’s personal physician, Dr. John F. Eisold, the attending physician at the US Capitol. 

Dr. Eisold does not speak to the media. 

Dr. Parker said his "clear impression" is that the 65-year old senator is healthy. The Delaware lawmaker’s biggest health issue concerns two brain aneurysms he had surgery for in 1988. While Dr. Eisold has written that Biden has "recovered fully without continued effects" from the aneurysm,  Dr. Parker told reporters that in the records he reviewed, there are no follow-up notes on Biden’s neurological care since 1988. He said he does not know whether or not Biden has had periodic brain imaging done since his surgeries.   

ABC News’ Medical Editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, who was on the call, said questions remain as to whether or not the senator has had a brain scan since 1988. Since the senator was first treated, many neurologists now order routine follow-up brain scans to see if a new aneurysm has developed that could burst. Dr. Johnson said it would be interesting to know "if Sen. Biden has had follow-up imaging, what were the results?  And if he hasn’t had any imaging, why not?" 

In response to reporters’ questions, Obama-Biden communications director Ricki Seidman said further information about the senator’s neurological care since 1988 would be provided later today.   

Dr. Parker also reported that the senator had a single episode of a heart rhythm problem, called atrial fibrillation.  And further testing has shown him to be in good cardiac health.  He takes a daily aspirin and a statin drug for cholesterol control.  A biopsy for an enlarged prostate five years ago came out normal. 

After the briefing, campaign spokesman David Wade said,  "Sen. Biden is in terrific health and he’s full of unbrindled energy on the campaign trail. He leads an active lifestyle, lifts weights, and works out regularly even as he campaigns, and his wife and family always make sure he drinks plenty of water and eats right. After a health scare over twenty years ago, he’s been blessed with excellent health."

Seidman said Dr. Parker was selected to review the records based on recommendations from DC-area physicians and the campaign’s legal staff. Dr. Parker, who is associated with George Washington University Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital, told reporters his objective was to review the summary, not to evaluate the care provided to the Senator. The physician did say he had donated $2,300 to the Obama-Biden campaign this summer. 

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