NEW YORK — 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 discomfort in his chest.
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,” an adviser said.
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 an operating room.
He expected Clinton to be released from the hospital today.
Secretary of State Hillary 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.
At that time, four of his arteries were blocked, some almost completely, and he was in danger of an imminent heart attack.
Cardiologist Allan Schwartz said the former president had been feeling discomfort in his chest for several days, and tests showed that one of the bypasses from the surgery was completely blocked.
Instead of trying to open the blocked bypass, doctors reopened one of his original blocked arteries and inserted the two stents. The procedure took about an hour, and Clinton was able to get up two hours later, Schwartz said.
There was no sign the former president had suffered a heart attack, and the new blockage was not a result of his diet, Schwartz said.
The doctor said Clinton could return to work Monday.