Sports Outside the Beltway

Marcus Giles Has Heartburn, Not Heart Disease

Marcus Giles has heartburn, not heart disease.

The Marcus Giles heart-surgery scare was apparently a major false alarm, and the Braves second baseman was cleared to return to the team after undergoing a battery of tests Sunday in Atlanta. “He was diagnosed with acid reflux and no cardiac condition,” general manager John Schuerholz said before Monday night’s series opener against the Mets at Shea Stadium, where Giles arrived 40 minutes before the 7:10 p.m. game after flying from Atlanta. “They did a stress test, and the good news is, he’s fine. No restrictions.”

Giles said, “It’s definitely comforting, a big relief for me and my family.”

He didn’t play Monday but said he expected to be back in the lineup today or Wednesday. Giles will see a gastroenterologist Thursday in Atlanta to reconfirm the latest diagnosis.

“The next step is to find out what’s going on down there, but I don’t think we’re talking about anything too serious,” Giles said.

After being told Saturday by a Philadelphia doctor that he might have a heart-valve problem that would require surgery, Giles left the team and returned to Atlanta for tests with Dr. John Cantwell, the Braves’ cardiologist. “As far as we’re concerned, our doctor examined him and eliminated unequivocally any heart defect,” Schuerholz said.

Giles spent 10 hours at a Philadelphia hospital Saturday after experiencing what he described as knee-buckling pain after taking a sip of soft drink in the morning. The pain subsided after about 10 minutes, but Giles said he still had some discomfort at the ballpark as he prepared for Saturday’s doubleheader.

Giles met with a doctor who he said told him about the potential heart defect and said if he had the ailment, he needed to get it taken care of promptly to eliminate the potential risk of stroke or other calamity.

Asked about the disparity between a heart-valve problem and acid reflux, Schuerholz said, “I didn’t go to medical school, but it sounds like a big difference.”

Acid reflux is as an inflammation of the esophagus caused by regurgitation of food or drink. Its most recognized symptom is commonly known as “heartburn.”

Giles said Monday that the Philadelphia doctor did not mention acid reflux. “The most comforting thing was that the first opinion was by a trauma emergency room doctor [in Philadelphia],” Giles said, “and the next opinion was by a heart specialist.”

Sheesh. Good news for the Giles family but an unnecessary scare. The Philly doc’s caution in wanting to rule out the most severe possibility given the symptoms is certainly understandable; one would think, though, that he’d have avoided alarming the patient until he had more to go on.

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