Robert Kennedy Jr. hospitalized for irregular heartbeat

Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2001

SEATTLE (AP) -- Environmental attorney Robert Kennedy Jr., apparently worn out after a weekend protesting U.S. Navy bombing in Puerto Rico, was hospitalized overnight for an irregular heartbeat.

Kennedy, 47, was released in good condition Wednesday morning from Swedish Medical Center after spending the night, said hospital spokeswoman Melissa Tizon.

Kennedy came to Seattle from Puerto Rico, where he was briefly detained with others protesting naval bombing exercises on the island of Vieques.

He was here for the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association's annual Law Day dinner. He arrived exhausted, without even a suit to wear, said Sue Evans, the group's spokeswoman. He spoke for an hour before going to the hospital, she said.

''He was really ragged from the weekend and he wasn't feeling well so he asked us to take him to the hospital,'' Evans said. ''He barely got any sleep for three days. He was fine by this morning.''

Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is co-director of the Environmental Law Project at Pace University in White Plains, N.Y., and heads the Hudson Riverkeeper program. His father represented New York in the Senate.

Spokeswoman Mary Beth Postman at Kennedy's Pace Law School office, said Kennedy was flying Wednesday to give a speech in North Carolina. She said she had no further details.

A hospital news release said Kennedy was admitted with atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that can occur in otherwise healthy adults. His heartbeat was restored to normal after treatment, and he was released in good condition

Atrial fibrillation is found in about 2 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association Web site. The heart's two small upper chambers quiver instead of pumping effectively, which means blood isn't pumped completely out of the chambers. That poses a danger of the blood pooling and clotting, which could lead to a stroke.

Symptoms include fatigue and dizziness.

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