Ex-President Clinton undergoes heart procedure
NEW YORK (AP) – Former President Bill Clinton, who had quadruple bypass surgery more than five years ago, was hospitalized Thursday to have a clogged heart artery opened after suffering chest pains.
Two stents resembling tiny mesh scaffolds were placed inside the artery as part of a medical procedure that is common for people with severe heart disease.
The 63-year-old Clinton was “in good spirits and will continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti’s relief and long-term recovery efforts,” said an adviser, Douglas Band.
Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee chairman and a close friend of the Clintons, said Clinton participated in a conference call on earthquake relief as he was being wheeled into surgery. Clinton is expected to be released from the hospital today.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled from Washington to New York to be with her husband, who underwent the procedure at New York Presbyterian Hospital, the same place where his bypass surgery was done in September 2004.
In an angioplasty, the procedure Clinton had on Thursday, doctors thread a tube through a blood vessel in the groin to a blocked artery and inflate a balloon to flatten the clog. Often, one or more stents are used to prop the artery open.
“It’s not unexpected” for Clinton to need another procedure years after his bypass, said Dr. Clyde Yancy, cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and president of the American Heart Association.
The sections of blood vessels used to create detours around the original blockages tend to develop clogs five to 10 years after a bypass, Yancy explained. New blockages also can develop in new areas.
“This kind of disease is progressive. It’s not a one-time event, so it really points out the need for constant surveillance” and treating risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, he said.
The need for another artery-opening procedure will not affect Clinton’s long-term prognosis, said Dr. William O’Neill, a cardiologist and executive dean of clinical affairs at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
“It doesn’t really affect long-term survival. It’s a quality-of-life thing. He’ll have to have careful monitoring, regular stress tests.”
Aides to Mrs. Clinton said she still planned to go ahead with a previously scheduled trip to the Persian Gulf. The trip was to begin this afternoon, but now she is planning to leave Saturday.