Bill Bradley's Heart - Atrial Fibrillation

On December 11, 1999, Bill Bradley had to cancel scheduled campaign events and go see a cardiologist in Redwood City. He had an irregular heartbeat due to atrial fibrillation. The abnormal heartbeat corrected itself without treatment.

Mr. Bradley was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 1996, the last year he served in the U.S. Senate. He is not the first prominent political figure to have atrial fibrillation. George H. Bush developed it while he was President. In Pres. Bush's case, it was brought on by overactivity of his thyroid gland.

In Sen. Bradley's case, the atrial fibrillation had no known cause. It is called idiopathic atrial fibrillation.

Mr. Bradley had been taking Procanbid to keep his heart beat regular. (Procanbid is the brand name for an extended- release form of procainamide, a venerable drug for atrial fibrillation.) He had reportedly forgotten to take one of his two daily Procanbid pills.