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Rep. Les Aspin of Wisconsin Hospitalized

February 13, 1991

DENVER (AP) _ U.S. Rep. Les Aspin, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was hospitalized Wednesday with a heart condition triggered on a skiing trip to Vail.

The 52-year-old legislator was in serious but stable condition, said University Hospital spokesman Brad Bawman.

Aspin, a Democrat who has represented Wisconsin’s 1st District for more than 20 years, was admitted Monday to Vail Medical Center. On Tuesday night, he was transferred to the Denver hospital, said Doris Allen, chief operations officer at the Vail hospital.

Aspin was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, said Dr. Phillip Wolf, the hospital’s director of cardiology.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an overgrowth of muscle tissue in the heart, which impairs the heart’s ability to pump blood, Wolf said. It can lead to pulmonary edema - a buildup of fluid in the lungs.

″Dr. Wolf said the congressman’s excessive physical activity at high altitude possibly placed greater demands on his system, which led to the illness,″ Bawman said.

Aspin will be treated with a ″beta blocker″ drug to slow down the pumping action of the heart, Bawman said.

Aspin knew he had a heart murmur but didn’t know he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Bawman said.

He was expected to stay in the hospital for a few days.

″The prognosis is good. They have every anticipation that he’ll do well,″ Bawman said, adding that the congressman was ″in good spirits.″