August 7, 2013 in Nation/World

Former president gets stent for blocked artery

Associated Press
 

Bush
(Full-size photo)

Former President George W. Bush successfully underwent a heart procedure in Dallas on Tuesday after doctors discovered a blockage in an artery during his annual physical, Bush spokesman Freddy Ford said.

“At the recommendation of his doctors, President Bush agreed to have a stent placed to open the blockage,” Ford said. “The procedure was performed successfully this morning, without complication, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.”

Bush, 67, was expected to be discharged today and resume his normal schedule the following day.

The blockage was discovered Monday during Bush’s physical at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, where the nation’s 43rd president lives.

Bush was described as being “in high spirits” and eager to return home.

Stents are mesh scaffoldings that prop open arteries typically clogged by years of quiet cholesterol buildup. About half a million people have stents inserted in the U.S. each year, generally involving an overnight stay in the hospital.

Doctors usually guide a narrow tube through a blood vessel near the groin up to the heart, inflate a tiny balloon to flatten the blockage and insert the stent. Sometimes they insert it through an artery in the wrist to lower the risk of bleeding.

Doctors often recommend first trying medication to treat a clogged artery. More severe blockages, particularly in several arteries, may require bypass surgery. Arteries can reclog, so patients often are put on heart-friendly diets or medication.

Bush is known as a fitness buff. In 1993, before he was elected Texas governor, he ran the Houston Marathon in a respectable 3:44.52.

While in the White House, he frequently used a quarter-mile jogging path on the south lawn. Bush was known to run about 3 miles four days a week, and cross-trained with swimming, free weights and an elliptical trainer. When doctors found his knees were getting damaged, he turned to mountain biking.

Since leaving office, Bush hosts and leads an annual 100-kilometer mountain bike ride with about 20 wounded military veterans.

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