Former President George W. Bush home after heart surgery

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 7 at 9:17 AM

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas

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DALLAS — The 43rd president of the United States is back home and "doing great" after undergoing a procedure to open a blocked artery Tuesday morning, said Freddy Ford, a spokesman for the former president.

Tuesday, President George W. Bush spent his day recovering at Texas Health Dallas.

Doctors said the procedure was without complication, and Bush is expected to recover and resume his normal schedule later this week.

Bush, 67, is an avid runner who maintains an active and healthy lifestyle. He apparently had no symptoms of the heart disease that was revealed Monday during a routine physical at the Cooper Clinic.

According to a statement from Bush aide Freddy Ford:

"He had a stress test as part of his annual physical. During the stress test there were EKG changes, which prompted a CT angiogram that confirmed the blockage."

"Many people will have abnormal stress tests," explained Medical City Dallas cardiologist Dr. Eric Eichhorn. "It indicates there's a lack of proper blood flow to the heart, and this would merit further investigation."

Dr. Eichhorn does procedures every week like the cardiac catheterization Bush underwent Tuesday morning at Texas Health Dallas to open a blocked artery. The procedure is less invasive than open heart surgery.

During the procedure, doctors thread a tube from the groin to the heart. Through that, they place a metal mesh tube called a stent in the clogged artery.

"A stent is like a steel scaffolding that opens the artery ... and is very good about keeping that artery open so that blood flow may go past," Dr. Eichhorn explained. "After time, that stent is usually incorporated into the wall of the artery ... and usually requires just consistent monitoring over time."

More than a million Americans undergo stenting each year. It's not a cure, and like those fellow citizens, Bush is now considered at risk from heart disease.

The former president was expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday.

In a statement, Bush thanked "...his family, friends, and fellow citizens for their prayers and well wishes. And he encourages us all to get our regular check-ups."

For questions about heart disease and symptoms, the Medical City Heart Hotline at 866-HEART-HELP (866-432-7843) is available when physician offices are closed: 5 p.m. - 8 a.m., Monday-Friday; weekends; and on all major holidays.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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