Mantle's Problems Caused by Schedule, Not Heart Condition


Mickey Mantle's stay at Irving Community Hospital earlier this week was the result of chest pains caused by stress and an upper respiratory infection rather than a heart problem.

Dr. Michael Rothkopf, medical director of the Irving Heart Institute, said the former New York Yankees star underwent cardiac catheterization, a procedure that allows physicians to study the flow of blood through the heart and arteries. According to Rothkopf, the test, in which dye is injected into a vein, showed no evidence of a heart problem. Mantle, 55, was hospitalized after suffering chest pains on a plane Sunday night. He was released Tuesday.

Mantle's problem, Rothkopf said, is a combination of two things--stress syndrome and an upper respiratory infection that Rothkopf described as bronchitis. "He has bronchitis, which is more or less a normal cold but more serious than a normal cold," he said, "and a lot of pressing engagements on top of that."

Mantle was in the hospital's telemetry unit, a heart-monitoring and observation unit, before being released. Patients who undergo cardiac catheterization, which involves a local anesthetic, generally must rest in bed for six hours .

In explaining the diagnosis of stress syndrome, Rothkopf said that it was his understanding that Mantle had maintained such a busy schedule that "it just led to a type of exhaustion."

Mantle's lawyer, Roy True of Dallas, said Tuesday that he and Mantle's agent, Kathleen Hampton, arrange Mantle's schedule so that he will have time off between commitments. But, True said, Mantle often spends much of his free time doing favors for friends, former teammates and business contacts.

"His commitments are spread out pretty good," True said, "because we take into account the energy and stress he goes through. However, the real problem for Mickey is he's the proverbial Mr. Nice Guy. He does an awful lot of things for people on an ad hoc basis. Mr. X-Y-Z in New York will say, 'Come here and meet these people,' and all this. He ends up doing too much, spending three, four days (a week) on planes, so the built-in rest period is gone." '

Mantle was admitted to the emergency room at Irving Community Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Sharon Peters, after complaining of dizziness and chest pains on a Delta flight from New York to Dallas, his home. Mantle was returning after a trip that included a baseball "fantasy" camp in Florida and a card show in Schenectady, N.Y., True said.

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