CNN left out crucial details on Wednesday while advancing a narrative in which President Trump’s heart health is of serious concern.
CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta diagnosed Trump with heart disease on Wednesday, pointing to Trump’s coronary calcium score of 133, which White House doctor Ronny Jackson released on Tuesday while giving Trump a clean bill of health.
Gupta pointed to a Mayo Clinic webpage that says a score between 100 and 300 “is associated with a relatively high risk of heart attack or other heart disease over the next three to five years.” But Gupta didn’t dive very deep into what the data about Trump’s heart health actual shows, or attempt to quantify Trump’s risk of heart attack or similar heart disease.
So The Daily Caller did.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) has a publicly available algorithm for calculating the risk of heart attack or coronary heart disease that takes into account the patient’s calcium coronary score and other factors such as cholesterol level and family history of heart disease. The New York Times previously used the MESA algorithm for a 2016 article evaluating Trump and Clinton’s health.
Using the results of Trump’s medical exam from Dr. Jackson, The Daily Caller calculated Trump’s risk of heart attack or similar heart disease. According to that algorithm, Trump’s risk from heart attack or other coronary heart disease is just 4.1 percent each year for the next 10 years. (Feel free to replicate our results here.)
Additionally, Trump’s coronary calcium score of 133 is lower than the mean for men his age, according to MESA, making Trump’s score a sign of above average heart health.
CNN’s coverage left out those details and cast doubt on Jackson’s confidence in Trump’s heart health. The network instead painted a picture where Trump’s heart health is of serious concern.
CNN “New Day” host Alisyn Camerota described Trump’s heart health as “troubling” on Wednesday morning. “The president has heart disease. Those numbers qualify him for having heart disease,” Gupta agreed, adding that he, too, finds it “concerning.”
After the White House pushed back against Gupta’s diagnosis on Wednesday, Gupta reiterated his claim and disputed Dr. Ronny Jackson’s assertion that Trump is in “excellent health.” Gupta again portrayed the president’s heart health as a serious concern.
Gupta was more cautious in an article online, saying the president has a “moderate” risk of heart attack or disease if he doesn’t make certain lifestyle changes. But Gupta still failed to note just how small the president’s actual risk of heart attack or disease is.
Dr. Jackson specifically addressed Gupta’s concerns about the coronary calcium score at Tuesday’s press conference. “So I had a long conversation with the cardiologist — not only the cardiologist at Walter Reed, but the cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic and several other well-known institutions — and everyone saw that as reassuring that he’s gone this period of time and he’s had that much — or that little of a change in his coronary calcium load,” Jackson said Tuesday.
“So that I think, overall, his coronary calcium score is very reassuring and goes along with the rest of his cardiac workup.”
The focus on Trump’s heart health came the day after Jackson shattered a favorite narrative among establishment journalists: that Trump is mentally ill and therefore unfit to be president. Trump is in excellent mental health, Jackson said. (RELATED: The Media Members Behind Conspiracy Theories About Trump’s Mental Health)