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George W. Bush Has Stent Implanted to Open Blockage in His Heart

( [email protected] ) Aug 06, 2013 07:27 AM EDT
DALLAS -- President George W. Bush underwent a successful procedure this morning to have a stent placed in his heart to open a blockage found during his annual physical, according to Freddy Ford, spokesman for the office of George W. Bush.
President George W. Bush underwent a successful procedure this morning to have a stent placed in his heart to open a blockage found during his annual physical, according to Freddy Ford, spokesman for the office of George W. Bush. Getty Images

DALLAS -- President George W. Bush underwent a successful procedure this morning to have a stent placed in his heart to open a blockage found during his annual physical, according to Freddy Ford, spokesman for the office of George W. Bush.

President Bush was at his annual physical examination at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas yesterday when a blockage was discovered in an artery in his heart.

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

President Bush is in high spirits, eager to return home tomorrow and resume his normal schedule on Thursday, Ford said. He said he’s grateful to the skilled medical professionals who have cared for him. President Bush thanked his family, friends and fellow citizens for their prayers and well wishes. He’d also like to encourage us all to get our regular check-ups.

A stent, according to the American Heart Association, is a tiny wire mesh tube. It props open an artery and is left there permanently. When a coronary artery (an artery feeding the heart muscle) is narrowed by a buildup of fatty deposits called plaque, it can reduce blood flow. If blood flow is reduced to the heart muscle, chest pain can result. If a clot forms and completely blocks the blood flow to part of the heart muscle, a heart attack results, according to the AHA.

When a stent is used, it’s collapsed and put over the balloon catheter. It’s then moved into the area of the blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands, locks in place and forms a scaffold. This holds the artery open. The stent stays in the artery permanently and holds it open. This improves blood flow to the heart muscle and relieves symptoms (usually chest pain).

Bush dealt with other health issues while in office in the 2000s, reports The Washington Post, including having noncancerous skin lesions removed from his face in 2001. He also famously hit his head after choking on a pretzel in 2002.

More recently, Bush’s father, former president George H.W. Bush, 89, has been dealing with various health problems, The Washington Post reports. He was released from a lengthy hospital stay in January after experiencing severe bronchitis-like symptoms.

Bush wears his faith on his sleeve and did so in office, too. According to beliefnet.com, Bush said the following during his apology for the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, as quoted in The Washington Post May 7, 2004:

“My faith plays a big part in my life. And when I was answering that question what I was really saying to the person was that I pray a lot. And I do. And my faith is a very, it's very personal. I pray for strength. I pray for wisdom. I pray for our troops in harm's way. I pray for my family. I pray for my little girls.”