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Former U.S. President George W. Bush undergoes heart stent surgery

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Former U.S. President George W. Bush is recovering after undergoing heart surgery. According to his office, a stent was placed in a blocked artery after it was discovered at his annual physical examination.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Bush underwent the procedure at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The blockage was first discovered at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas on Monday. Bush immediately underwent the operation at the behest of his doctors, which has been reported successful.

Former President Bush is reportedly in "high spirits" and is "eager to return home tomorrow and resume his normal schedule on Thursday. 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."

For a patient to undergo a stent procedure the patient typically has had significant symptoms or a very positive screening test, possibly on an exercise test, Dr. Jeff Brinker, an interventional radiologist and a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine says.

The high alacrity to which the surgeons moved to place the stent may be related to President Bush's status,
Dr. Howard Herrmann, a professor of medicine and director of the interventional cardiology program at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center says.   

"If he was complaining of chest discomfort or if a stress test was particularly concerning then things could happen fast," Herrmann said. "But by the same token, when you're the former president, things can happen fast."

Doctors usually opt to implant a stent as soon as they spot the blockage on an angiogram, Dr. Suresh Mulukutla, director of interventional cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says. A cardiologist usually wishes to discuss options -- bypass surgery or stenting -- with the patient, Mulukutla says.

Patients can have a blocked artery without symptoms, Herrmann said, underscoring the need for regular check-ups. "In general, blockages don't develop overnight," he explained. "They do take years to develop to the point where blood flow is blocked."

It's not known which members of the Bush family were with the former President at the hospital for the procedure.

Bush's 31-year-old daughters, Barbara and Jenna, both live in New York City. Jenna did take to Twitter to thank friends for their concerns.

"He's well and we're eager for him to return to Grandpa duty," she tweeted, sharing a photo of her father with her infant daughter, Mila. Jenna gave birth in April.

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