Joe Biden deemed 'fit and healthy' but he's being treated for this heart condition: Here's what we know

President Biden recently underwent a physical exam revealing he is being treated for several health conditions.

Joe Biden’s health condition, atrial fibrillation, explained
© Baltimore Sun / Getty Images
Joe Biden’s health condition, atrial fibrillation, explained

On 16 February, US President Joe Biden, 78, underwent his second extensive physical examination since he took office in January 2021.

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Joe Biden's health condition

The three-hour long physical health evaluation took place at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

White House physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, found that Biden 'remains a healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency'.

Other than having a lesion removed from his chest that is undergoing a traditional biopsy, Biden is currently being treated for asymptomatic atrial fibrillation, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), acid reflux, seasonal allergies, osteoarthritis, and mild nerve damage in his feet.

However, some of these conditions are common in older adults, and he is in a stable state for all.

Biden’s physical this year did not include a cognitive test or a colonoscopy. During his last medical check-up in 2021, a colonoscopy identified a 3-millimetre 'benign-appearing polyp' which was then removed.

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What is atrial fibrillation?

According to Healthline, atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a condition where the heart’s upper chambers (atria) beat out of coordination with the lower chamber (ventricles). In other words, it’s an irregular heartbeat.

Dr. Mary Tinetti, a Yale Medicine geriatrician and a professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut said there are two reasons AFib can be concerning.

The first is the risk of blood clots. Due to the heart beating irregularly, blood can pool around it, and in some cases, can clot and travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

To avoid this, people with AFib are prescribed anticoagulants or blood thinners. Biden is currently taking such medication, which prevents clotting.

The second concern is the irregular pumping of the blood. This can lead to issues such as lightheadedness and a reduced ability to exercise, however, this does not seem to be a problem for Biden. Tinetti said:

His heart, from that perspective, looks fine. For him, it’s not giving any symptoms.

Sources used:

President Biden's current health summary

AP News: 'Doctor says Biden’s ‘vigorous’ as he readies for 2024 run'

BBC: 'Biden healthy, vigorous and fit for job, says doctor'

Healthline: 'President Joe Biden's Physical Exam Shows Him in Good Health With a Few Minor Issues'

Joe Biden: The President is deemed fit and healthy after annual physical exam Joe Biden: The President is deemed fit and healthy after annual physical exam