Limbaugh Says Tests Found Nothing Wrong

Published On: Dec 30 2009 04:20:51 AM HST
Updated On: Jan 01 2010 10:09:19 PM HST
HONOLULU -

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said he's fine and leaving the hospital with plans to return to work on Wednesday. The combative conservative said tests show nothing wrong after he was hospitalized with chest pains.

He remained at a hospital in Hawaii Thursday night, a day after being admitted for chest pains.

According to his radio program, Limbaugh underwent a complete examination on Thursday that gave doctors more information about his condition.

Walter E. Williams, who filled in for Limbaugh on his radio show, offered a brief update on the host's condition.

"Rush continues to rest very comfortably in the hospital in Honolulu this afternoon," Williams said.

Limbaugh was in Hawaii for a Christmas vacation. He was spotted golfing earlier in the week at the Waialae Country Club.

On Wednesday, he was taken from the Kahala Hotel and Resort to Queens Medical Center after complaining of chest pains.

"Those pains were the kind of pains that makes one feel like he has a heart attack coming on, but it's not been confirmed that it was a heart attack," Williams said. "Rush is in good and stable condition. (He's) comfortable, as comfortable as one can be in a hospital while on vacation and he's in good hands."

On Friday, Limbaugh held a conference to brief reporters at the Cardiac Comprehensive Care Unit of the hospital.

"I experienced pain in my upper left chest like I had never felt before," Limbaugh said. ()

He said the pain was real but he still doesn't know what caused it.

Limbaugh said an angiogram found nothing wrong and that he's never had heart problems.

"Best guess," Limbaugh said, "it might have been a spasm in an artery."

"The treatment I received here was first rate," he said, thanking the doctors, nurses and nurses aides at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.

Limbaugh checked out of the hospital after his news conference. He said he would return to work on Wednesday, a two-day delay because of his hospitalization.

He told reporters he's taking the drug prednisone for back pain.

Typical Treatment For Chest Pains

Citing privacy issues, doctors at Queens Medical Center wouldn't specifically about Limbaugh's conditions.

Some doctors did say that someone who is admitted to a hospital with chest pains will usually be tested for heart problems.

"If you're held overnight, then there is concern at least you're on a monitor or you're being observed," said internal medicine specialist Dr. Ira Zunin. "Let's say maybe there's concern over maybe a severe arrhythmia, bad rhythm of the heart that drops your blood pressure. At least you're going to be observed."

Those tests can include an EKG to test the heart's electrical rhythm, a blood test for enzymes that may indicate damage to heart tissue, and a chest X-ray.

Patients could be given a stress test to see how the heart functions under pressure.

Doctors could also order an angiogram, in which dye is injected to examine the coronary arteries.

"Sometimes there may be one that's blocked and one or two, it's amenable to a stent. Put a stent in there to allow the blocked area to open up," Zunin said.

Treatment could involve a stent or angioplasty to open a clogged artery. The patient might have open heart surgery with a multiple bypass.

People with an angioplasty usually stay in a hospital for a day or two and are then asked to avoid strenuous activity for two weeks. Bypass surgery usually means several days in a hospital and a six to 12-week recovery.

Observers said Limbaugh reportedly lost and gained a lot of weight recently, something that Zunin said isn't good for the heart.

"Weight gain and weight loss is a tremendous stress on the entire system and the cardiovascular system," he said. "As you're losing weight, you're breaking down muscle and fat and all kinds of toxins and by-products of what we call metabolism are running through the system and it's a tremendous strain on the heart."

Media Impact

News of Limbaugh's medical concerns meant that news crews covering President Barack Obama's vacation had to scramble to cover the story.

Many network correspondents did live reports from outside Queens Medical Center and technicians, producers and camera crews set up on the lawn of the state's Liluokalani Building.

"It keeps us busy," said satellite coordinator Dave Goebert. "They all want the live shot at the same time, as well."

He said that it was already going to be a busy week for him with Obama in the area.

"It's one of those feast or famines," he said. "Hawaii's a quiet news state most of the time."

Some people wondered if the media hubbub was the result of a last-minute settlement in the school furlough budget problem, only to be told the news crews were there to cover Limbaugh.

Sylvia Ching was taking a walk by the hospital and said she didn't know about its famous patient.

"He gets so excited on the radio," Ching said. "Maybe he should calm down a little."

Patient Mark Marlowe said the hospital was abuzz with talk about Limbaugh.

"He's got his own opinion and he does have a great following, so I can respect that," he said.

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