Former President Bill Clinton's cardiologist says Mr. Clinton has been up and walking around following a procedure to improve blood flow to his heart. The former president underwent the procedure Thursday after feeling discomfort in his chest for several days.
The head of cardiology at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Alan Schwartz, said President Clinton did not have a heart attack or suffer any damage to his heart.
But tests showed that Mr. Clinton did have a complete blockage in one of the arteries that had been cleared in a 2004 quadruple by-pass operation. On Thursday, he underwent a one-hour procedure in which two stents were inserted into the artery to open it.
A stent is a tube that is inserted into a blood vessel to keep it open and improve blood flow to the heart. They are commonly used to relieve symptoms such as chest pain. Dr. Schwartz said the procedure went well.
"The procedure went very smoothly. President Clinton has since been up and walking around and visiting with his family, and we hope to have him go home tomorrow," he said.
Dr. Schwartz said the the blockage was not the result of anything Mr. Clinton had done wrong in terms of his diet or lifestyle. In fact, he said, the former president, who was well known for his love of fast-food while in office, has been a good patient in terms of altering his lifestyle to control his heart disease.
"This is a chronic condition, we don't have a cure for this condition. However we have excellent treatments that involve lifestyle modification, medications and occassionally, when necessary, procedures," he said.
Mr. Clinton's wife, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, were with him at the hospital where he was reported to be in "good spirits".
Dr. Schwartz said Mr. Clinton could return to work on Monday.
Mr. Clinton is very active through his Clinton Foundation as well as in his role as U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti. In the wake of that country's devastating earthquake, Mr. Clinton is playing a key role in the international relief and recovery effort and just returned from Haiti few days ago.