Former President Clinton undergoes heart procedure

Former President Bill Clinton had two stents inserted Thursday to prop open a clogged heart artery after being hospitalized with chest pains, an adviser said.

Clinton, 63, “is in good spirits and will continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti’s relief and long-term recovery efforts,” said adviser Douglas Band.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton left Washington and headed to New York to be with her husband, who underwent the procedure at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Stents are tiny mesh scaffolds used to keep an artery open after it is unclogged in an angioplasty procedure. Doctors thread a tube through a blood vessel in the groin to a blocked artery, inflate a balloon to flatten the clog, and slide the stent into place.

That is a different treatment from what Clinton had in 2004, when clogged arteries first landed him in the hospital. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery because of four blocked arteries, some of which had squeezed almost completely shut.

Angioplasty, which usually includes placing stents, is one of the most common medical procedures done worldwide. More than half a million stents are placed each year in the United States.

With bypass or angioplasty, patients often need another procedure years down the road because arteries often reclog.

“It’s not unexpected” for Clinton to need another procedure now, said Dr. Clyde Yancy, cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and president of the American Heart Association.

The sections of arteries and veins used to create detours around the original blockages tend to develop clogs five to 10 years after a bypass, he 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.

Doctors will have to watch Clinton closely for signs of excessive bleeding from the spot in the leg where doctors inserted a catheter, said Dr. Spencer King, a cardiologist at St. Joseph’s Heart and Vascular Institute in Atlanta and past president of the American College of Cardiology.

Complications are rare. The death rate from non-emergency angioplasty is well under 1 percent, King said.

The former president has been working in recent weeks to help relief efforts in Haiti. Since leaving office, he has maintained a busy schedule working on humanitarian projects through his foundation.

Clinton’s legend as an unhealthy eater was sealed in 1992, when the newly minted presidential candidate took reporters on jogs to McDonald’s. He liked hamburgers, steaks, french fries — lots of them — and was a voracious eater who could gobble an apple (core and all) in two bites and ask for more.

Two of his favorite Arkansas restaurants were known for their large portions — a hamburger the size of a hubcap and steaks as thick as fists.

He was famously spoofed on “Saturday Night Live” as a gluttonous McDonald’s customer.

Friends and family say Clinton changed his eating habits for the better after his bypass surgery.

Other than his heart ailments, Clinton has suffered only typical problems that come with aging.

In 1996, he had a precancerous lesion removed from his nose, and a year before a benign cyst was taken off his chest. Shortly after leaving office, he had a cancerous growth removed from his back. In 1997, he was fitted with hearing aids.

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Associated Press Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione contributed to this report.

 

 

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5 Responses to "Former President Clinton undergoes heart procedure"

  1. paulb6  February 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    I am not a great fan of Bill Clinton’s however I do wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

  2. Carl Nemo  February 11, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Each one of these surviving former Presidents cost the U.S. taxpayer 4.5 million dollars per annum to maintain; ie., a figure from 10 years ago and no doubt moreso now.

    I don’t wish President Clinton ill, but I’m tired of hearing their names pop up; ie, Jimmy Carter, H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and now G.W. Bush. Now we’ve got another soon to be retired parasite on the taxpayers dime; ie, President Obama. For sure he’s another single term president just like Jimmy Carter. So with five ‘retired’ Presidents it will be costing us in excess of $22 million per annum to maintain them.

    When Harry Truman retired there was no Presidential pension. Out of shame, Congress decided to give the man such; ie., a man that had the monumental task of taking over the reins of waging world war on two fronts along with the monumental decisions to be made concerning reconstruction of Europe and the Far East post WWII. These modern Presidents are nothing but feelgood personalities mostly enablers for the MIC, “oil patch” and corporations with little genuine kinship concerning the plight of the common citizen. To me a single term President should only get 50% of the normal pension allotted a former
    President.

    I’m providing a link for President Truman. I urge readers to take the time to read about this man and realize these modern presidential scamsters we have for Presidents wouldn’t make a zit on Truman’s butt yet the taxpayer is being shaken down for 4.5 million per annum to maintain them. Truly a crying a shame.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. griff  February 11, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    A lesson for the kiddies – stay off the fast food, you’ll carry it around forever, or at least until some doctor has to slice you up and carve it out of you.

    Just wanted to thank you and Al one more time for NAFTA and GATT, in case you don’t make it. Oh, and Gramm-Leach-Blilely. Thanks a million – or a trillion – or quadrillion! Sorry, I’ve lost count.

  4. bryan mcclellan  February 12, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Sounds like grounds for denial, predicated by a pre-existing condition.
    What makes Bill so special as averse to we commoners?

    That’s right, my mistake,
    you’re in good hands with the Good OLE Boy’s network…Heck..

  5. jim0001  February 13, 2010 at 7:53 am

    It’s good for “slick Willie” that he didn’t have Obamacare. It would have been death with dignity and Hillary could add widow to her resume. With reference to Carter, Jimmy should love Obama because he will no longer be the worst POTUS.

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