Sinatra Suffers Heart Attack; Prognosis Is Good

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Physicians were optimistic about Frank Sinatra's condition after the 81-year-old entertainer apparently suffered a heart attack Thursday, returning to the hospital for the third time in recent months.

Charlie Lahaie, spokeswoman for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Sinatra was taken to the hospital by paramedics between 6 and 7 a.m. and was recovering in a private room with his wife, Barbara, and daughter Nancy by his bedside.

His doctor, Rex Kennamer, said he appears to have had an "uncomplicated heart attack," Lahaie said in a brief statement issued by Cedars. "He's undergoing tests, observations, and treatment. The prognosis is good."

Sinatra was admitted overnight to Cedars earlier this week for a routine checkup, and returned to his Beverly Hills home Tuesday.

In November he was hospitalized for eight days with a pinched nerve and mild pneumonia, prompting a flurry of news reports about his deteriorating health that were later dismissed by family and friends.

When he went home after that stay, he suggested to the media camped out at the end of his driveway to do the same.

Thursday, there was another media huddle outside the hospital, but otherwise it was business as usual.

"There are so many things happening in the world that I can't believe they're making such a big deal of this," one passerby said, referring to the three dozen or so members of the news media standing vigil outside the hospital.

Cedars representatives, who have said little about Sinatra's trips to their facility, would not elaborate on his condition.

In an interview, UCLA cardiologist Dr. Antoine Hage said that generally an "uncomplicated heart attack" is one that does not result in significant heart failure or pumping dysfunction.

Depending on whether tests reveal damage to the heart, the patient may be released within a week, he said.

Sinatra's publicist, Susan Reynolds, emphatically denied news reports surfacing Thursday that Sinatra was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

"He absolutely does not have Alzheimer's," she said. "It is unfortunate that there has to be such rampant rumor and speculation."

Sinatra, one of the most enduring musical figures of this century, turned 81 last month.

Last year he marked his 80th birthday with a television special including salutes by such performers as Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett and Bob Dylan.

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