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Dr. Atkins suffered cardiac arrest April 25, 2002 Posted: 5:13 PM EDT (2113 GMT)

Atkins diet author home after cardiac arrest

April 25, 2002 Posted: 5:13 PM EDT (2113 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Nutrition expert and author Dr. Robert Atkins, creator of the high-protein/low-carbohydrate "Atkins Diet," was released Wednesday from hospital care and is resting well after his heart stopped, a condition called cardiac arrest.

Atkins was waiting for breakfast at a restaurant near his office last Thursday in Manhattan when he went into cardiac arrest. He was quickly revived by an associate and taken to the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The episode was caused by cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart's ability to pump blood is weakened because of enlargement, thickening or stiffening of the heart muscle.

In Atkins' case, cardiomyopathy was caused by an infection that spread to his heart muscle.

"I have had cardiomyopathy, which is a non-coronary condition and is in no way related to diet," Atkins said in a statement.

A statement by The Atkins Companies also said the hot weather in New York may have been a factor in the cardiac arrest. Temperatures last week in New York were in the 90s.

"We have been treating this condition, cardiomyopathy, for almost two years," said Patrick Fratellone, Atkins' personal physician and cardiologist. "Clearly, his own nutritional protocols have left him, at the age of 71, with an extraordinarily healthy cardiovascular system."

Atkins told CNN, "I want the public to know the truth, not every condition affecting the heart comes from a blockage." He said "a controlled carbohydrate lifestyle really prevents risk factors for heart disease."

Doctors have checked for blockages, Atkins said, "and I don't have any."

Dr. Clyde Yancy, a cardiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and a member of the American Heart Association's national board of directors, said: "Despite the obvious irony, I believe there is a total disconnect between the cardiac arrest and the health approach he (Atkins) popularizes."

Atkins' doctors have advised him to curtail his travel plans for the next 30 days as a precaution, but Atkins hopes to return to his work within the next week or so.

Paul Wolff, chief executive officer of The Atkins Companies, said: "Up until today, this has been a personal and private family matter for Atkins. It is unfortunate for the family that this has not remained so."

-- Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland contributed to this report

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