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Former US President Bill Clinton Taken to Hospital with Chest Pain

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is in good spirits after suffering chest pains and undergoing a procedure to improve blood flow to his heart at a New York City hospital on Thursday.

Douglas Band, a counselor to Mr. Clinton, said in a statement that the former president was admitted to New York Presbyterian Hospital after feeling what he called "discomfort in his chest."

The statement said Mr. Clinton visited his cardiologist and then underwent a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries.

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. Clyde Yancy is a cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and the president of the American Heart Association. He said placing stent procedures in the United States have become routine treatments for patients with abrupt onset chest pain or who have emergency situations, such as a heart attack.

"For the most part, placing these procedures is straight forward, it is safe and extremely effective. But it has to be part of a process -- it just can't be the stent alone. It has to be the medicines that go with the stent, the medicines that are necessary to treat the underlying disease, and managing the risk factors," he said.

This is not the first time Mr. Clinton has had heart issues. In 2004, the former president underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries.

Mr. Clinton's wife, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left Washington late Thursday to be at her husband's side in New York. She is supposed to travel to Saudi Arabia and Qatar on Friday, but due to her husband's health her trip has been put back for one day. The couple's daughter, Chelsea, also with her father at the hospital.

Mr. Clinton's counselor, Douglas Brand, said the 63-year-old former president is in "good spirits" and would continue to focus on the work of his Foundation and as the United Nation's Special Envoy for Haiti's relief and recovery effort.

Mr. Clinton was in Haiti last week to deliver aid supplies and meet with Haitian and U.N. officials. It was his second trip there since the earthquake struck the country one month ago.

The U.N. Secretary-General's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said Ban Ki-moon sent his special envoy a note wishing him well. "The Secretary-General has sent President Clinton a handwritten note wishing him a speedy recovery and thanking him for his tremendous work on behalf of the United Nations for the people of Haiti," the spokesman said.

Former President George W. Bush has also partnered with President Clinton through the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund to work on relief efforts. In a statement, Mr. Bush's office said he had spoken to Chelsea Clinton and she told him her father is doing well.