MANHASSET, NY – After several years of battling heart issues, former New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason died Saturday from congestive heart failure at age 48.
“CHF is a symptom, it’s not a diagnosis,” said Evelina Grayver, MD, director of the coronary care unit at North Shore University Hospital. “It’s a result of an event that caused weakening of the heart muscle.”
A giant on the basketball court, the 6-foot, 7-inch tall Mason was 350 pounds – up 100 pounds from his playing weight – when he suffered a heart attack on Feb. 11 that required four surgeries to try and save his life
“Most likely, he had ischemic cardiomyopathy,” Dr. Grayver said. That means Mason’s heart could no longer pump enough blood to the rest of his body due to a heart attack.
That led to symptoms of congestive heart failure, said Dr. Grayver, which is shortness of breath, chest discomfort and palpitations.
It’s likely that the hoop star’s weight may have heightened his risk for having a cardiac event.
“That weight gain is obviously significantly related all of the other significant cardiac risk factors such as increasing his blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol as well as risk for diabetes,” said Dr. Grayver. “I’m not sure if he had any of those risk factors but the weight gain poses a significant risk for those risk factors.”
Although he played for six teams, Mason is most remembered for his 5-year stint with the Knicks, who he helped take to the 1994 NBA Finals.