-- HealthDay staff
TUESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Former President George W.
Bush underwent heart surgery Tuesday morning after an artery
blockage was discovered during his annual physical.
Bush had a stent placed in an artery during the procedure, which
was done at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The
procedure was successfully completed "without complications" and
Bush was "in high spirits," according to a statement released by
The blockage was discovered at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas on
Monday and, following a recommendation by his doctors, Bush agreed
to go ahead with the procedure.
The 67-year-old former president, known to be an avid outdoor
enthusiast, is "eager to return home tomorrow and resume his normal
schedule on Thursday," his office statement said.
"He is grateful to the skilled medical professionals who have cared for him. He thanks his family, friends, and fellow citizens for their prayers and well wishes. And he encourages us all to get our regular check-ups," the statement added.
CNNreported that Bush's annual exam in 2006 showed that he
had no signs of hypertension or stroke, and had a "low" to "very
low" coronary artery disease risk profile with an absence of
modifiable risk factors.
The 2006 report also said he had "minimal/mild" coronary artery
calcification, a common sign of early artery disease in which the
lining of aortic wall becomes inflamed and plaque starts to build
up over time,
Tuesday's statement from Bush's office offered no details on the
artery blockage that was discovered.
Heart experts were quick to echo Bush's reminder on getting
Dr. Lawrence Phillips, an assistant professor in the Leon H.
Charney Division of Cardiology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New
York City, said, "Heart disease can attack anyone. We know that by
decreasing an individual's risk factors, we can significantly
decrease the risk of developing coronary artery disease, a
narrowing of the blood vessels that bring blood to the heart
muscle. Risk factors that can be modified include high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and stopping smoking."
He added, "Sometimes we are fooled to think that heart disease
only impacts people who are overweight, eat unhealthy and have
multiple medical problems. That is just not true. Our job in the
medical community is to educate people to know their own risk
factors, how to modify them, and when you need to have more of an
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, spokeswoman for the American Heart
Association and a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York
City, said that Bush "underwent a stent implantation of his
coronary artery due to an abnormal stress test."
She added, "Blockages of the artery, or atherosclerosis, develop
from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking,
stress, sedentary lifestyle and family history. His job now will be
to modify those risk factors to keep all of them in check."
And she said, "Lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise,
will be a part of this regimen as well as medications. The stent
allows for blood flow through the artery, but is not a cure for
atherosclerosis. Although a relatively simple procedure, it is more
like a Band-Aid then an overall solution. The next phase is
prevention through healthy lifestyle choices, through diet,
managing stress and continued exercise."
A stent is a small mesh tube used to treat narrow or weak
arteries, which carry blood away from the heart to other parts of
the body. According to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood
Institute, the stent is placed in an artery as part of a procedure
called angioplasty. It helps support the inner wall of the artery
in the months or years after angioplasty.
Heart procedures on blocked arteries include cardiac
catheterizations and percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI),
like angioplasty. And they are fairly common.
According to the American Heart Association, in 2010 alone, an
estimated 492,000 patients, 67 percent of them men, underwent PCI
procedures in the United States.
For more on stents, visit the
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
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