George W. Bush has heart surgery for blocked artery

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George W. Bush

George W. Bush had stint placed in his heart to open a blockage.

Former president George W. Bush is in “high spirits”after heart surgery Tuesday morning, his office said.

During a physical examination Monday, doctors found a blockage in the artery of the former president’s heart, said Bush spokesman Freddy Ford.

“At the recommendation of his doctors, President Bush agreed to have a stent placed to open the blockage,” Ford said.

The procedure at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas went off “without complication” early Tuesday, Ford said.

The news caught the political world by surprise.

Bush was among the most physically active of presidents, with frequent exercise that ranged from early morning workouts to bike rides.

Since leaving office, Bush has hosted an annual 100-kilometer mountain bike ride for wounded troops, the most recent in May near Waco.

The president is scheduled to host a golf tournament for wounded warriors later this summer, and aides indicated his plans would not change.

Bush, 67, is scheduled to return home Wednesday and “resume his normal schedule on Thursday,” Ford said.

Sympathy notes poured in across the Web. “Prayers to President George W. Bush for a fast recovery,” tweeted Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus.

The former president’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, tweeted: “Thanks for your prayers for my dear Dad. He’s well and we’re eager for him to return to Grandpa duty.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama has not spoken with his predecessor about the heart procedure, but wishes him well.

Bush has received medical attention over the years, including treatment for scrapes and scratches from bicycle accidents in 2004 and 2005. Earlier, in 2002, Bush briefly lost consciousness and hit his head after choking on a pretzel while watching a football game.

Also in 2002, Bush had a follow-up colonoscopy and temporarily transferred political powers to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Aides said Bush is in good shape because of early detection.

Bush “is grateful to the skilled medical professionals who have cared for him,” Ford said. “He thanks his family, friends and fellow citizens for their prayers and well wishes.”

Ford added: “And he encourages us all to get our regular check-ups.”

Courtesy of USA Today

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