CC Sabathia may have saved his life by reacting quickly to experiencing acid reflux, heartburn and an increased amount of perspiration when riding an exercise bike earlier this month.
Sabathia informed the Yankees’ medical staff of the issues and was examined at New York-Presbyterian Hospital where, following a stress test, it was discovered the 38-year-old pitcher had a blocked artery leading to his heart. On Dec. 11 doctors inserted a stent to open the artery via an angioplasty procedure. Sabathia met with doctors on Friday and was told his prognosis is excellent.
“We are thankful that CC was smart enough to convey his symptoms to our medical staff, and in turn they immediately engaged New York-Presbyterian Hospital, who quickly determined the root cause of what ailed him,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “We are also encouraged that the procedure CC underwent was performed as planned. He is such a dynamic person beyond his excellence on the field, and we will proceed with his health at the forefront of our priorities. We will continue to follow the guidance and expertise of the doctors — who have conveyed that CC will report as scheduled to Tampa in February to prepare for the 2019 season.’’
According to Westfield, N.J., cardiologist Dr. Alan Kalischer, a stent at Sabathia’s age isn’t routine.
“It’s unusual for a 38-year-old to need a stent at that age,’’ Kalischer told The Post. “As for the effect on his career, that shouldn’t [hinder him]. He will be on medication. Other than taking a couple of extra pills, there will really be nothing done differently. He will need to be followed by a cardiologist every few months and someone should ride his tail to change his eating habits.’’
Dr. Marc Cohen, the Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Newark’s Beth Israel Hospital, explained this could be the start of more heart issues as Sabathia ages.
“The fact that this disease with those kind of plaques and a blocked artery at a tender age indicates he is heading for more disease,’’ Cohen told The Post. “You have to find out about his mother’s and father’s history because he has the disease at an early age.’’
Sabathia, who said the upcoming season will be his last, signed a one- year deal for $8 million on Nov. 8 and has been rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee at Yankee Stadium. His schedule was altered for a while, but according to agent Kyle Thousand, Sabathia has resumed limited activity, which includes lifting weights.
“CC was experiencing some chest pain which turned out to be blockage in an artery to the heart,’’ said Thousand in a statement to The Athletic.
The next step is a stress test on Jan. 8. If that goes well, Sabathia is expected to increase his offseason conditioning program ahead of the start of spring training.
After the 2010 season Sabathia shed 25 pounds, getting down to 290 after a cousin died of a heart attack. The weight loss was noticeable, but in the ensuring years the 6-foot-6 Sabathia regained the weight. He was listed in the Yankees’ 2018 media guide as 300 pounds, but appeared heavier at times during the season.
In his 18th season, Sabathia went 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts when he logged 153 innings, which were two shy of reaching a $500,000 bonus, which the Yankees gave him regardless.
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