Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg via Getty John Fetterman
Just weeks after suffering a stroke (and, days later, securing Pennsylvania's Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate), Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has revealed he has a heart condition, publishing a letter from his doctor with further details on his health.
In the letter, Fetterman's cardiologist, Dr. Ramesh Chandra, said she first saw Fetterman in 2017, after he began experiencing swelling in his feet. "That is when I diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm, along with a decreased heart pump," Chandra wrote.
Chandra went on to write that she prescribed Fetterman medications, and advised him to improve his diet and exercise habits but "did not see him again" until June 2.
"John did not go to any doctor for 5 years and did not continue taking his medications," the doctor wrote.
Chandra added that Fetterman now has a pacemaker-defibrillator and "is doing well."
Afib, the doctor said, was the cause of his stroke, and he also has a condition called cardiomyopathy, which is why doctors implanted his pacemaker.
The letter continued: "The prognosis I can give for John's heart is this: If he takes his medications, eats healthy, and exercises, he'll be fine. If he does what I've told him, and I do believe that he is taking his recovery and his health very seriously this time, he should be able to campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate without a problem."
In a statement accompanying the letter, Fetterman acknowledged he had "avoided going to the doctor, even though I knew I didn't feel well."
"As a result, I almost died," he said in the statement. "I want to encourage others to not make the same mistake."
Fetterman added that he is "not quite back to 100% yet, but I'm getting closer every day."
The update on Fetterman's health comes weeks after he suffered a stroke in May — just days ahead of the state's Democratic U.S. Senate primary, which he won.
Fetterman recounted in a statement and video posted to Twitter how he went to the hospital at the urging of his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, who recognized his symptoms as being stroke-related.
Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock From left: John Fetterman and Gisele Fetterman
In her own video, Gisele further explained the situation, saying: "John had a stroke that was caused by a clot from his heart being in an irregular rhythm for too long. Fortunately, the amazing doctors here were able to completely clear the clot and entirely reverse the stroke. They also got his heart under control."
She continued: "The good news is he's feeling much better and the doctors say he's well on his way to a full recovery."
In a full statement, Fetterman said he did not suffer any cognitive damage and that his campaign "isn't slowing down one bit."
Fetterman, who began his political career as the mayor of Braddock, Pa., became part of the national conversation as lieutenant governor of a headline-making swing state. A prominent Pennsylvania Democrat, he was a major voice during former President Donald Trump's baseless quest to overturn the November election.
In February 2021, he announced he would be seeking Pennsylvania's Democratic nomination for Senate in a widely watched race following the retirement of incumbent Pat Toomey, a Republican.