United States presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders underwent an unexpected heart procedure on Tuesday for a blockage in an artery and cancelled campaign events for the White House until further notice, an adviser said.

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders

Sanders, 78, was in Las Vegas, Nevada, for 2020 presidential campaign events when he experienced discomfort and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

“Following medical evaluation and testing he was found to have a blockage in one artery and two stents were successfully inserted,” Sanders senior adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement.

“Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits. He will be resting up over the next few days. We are cancelling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates,” Weaver said.

Sanders, the oldest of 19 contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, was scheduled to hold a town hall in Las Vegas and appear at a gun safety forum on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Aides did not offer any guidance on how long Sanders might be off the campaign trail. The first nominating contest is not until Feb. 3 in Iowa, but Sanders is one of 12 candidates scheduled to participate in the fourth Democratic debate in Ohio on Oct. 15.

The U.S. senator from Vermont has been among the top contenders in the crowded field seeking the 2020 nomination to challenge Republican President Donald Trump.

According to Reuters report, the incident could renew questions about the presidential hopeful’s age in a Democratic race featuring a generational divide between older candidates such as Sanders and front-runner Joe Biden, 76, and some younger contenders such as Pete Buttigieg, 37, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

In a letter made public during the 2016 campaign, Sanders’ doctor said he was in “overall good health” and he had no history of cardiovascular disease.

The insertion of stents to open blocked heart arteries is a relatively common procedure, with as many as one million Americans a year undergoing it, medical experts said. It involves inserting a balloon-tipped catheter to open the blockage and deploy tiny wire-mesh tubes to prop open the artery.

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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