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.
Clinton, who is 63, had quadruple bypass surgery at the same hospital in 2004 after angiography revealed significant blockages in four coronary arteries.
Six months later, Clinton had surgery to remove fluid and scar tissue from his left chest cavity.
“It’s not all that unusual six years out from bypass surgery to require such a procedure,” said Dr. Jon Resar, director of the Adult Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland.
Clinton, known for his rigorous schedule “20 hours a day for 20 years,” according to sources close to the former president just returned from a day trip to Haiti as part of his work as a United Nations special envoy to the earthquake-ravaged country.
“As we know, Clinton changed his diet and was on cholesterol-lowering medication,” said Resar. “But stress does play a role. But blockages in these bypass grafts can occur despite the fact that someone makes dramatic changes in their lifestyle and does all the right things.”
Though Clinton has been under increased stress in Haiti, it may have “brought it to the surface, but didn’t precipitate” the event, he said.
He was taken to the hospital today after “feeling discomfort in his chest,” and had two stents placed in one of his coronary arteries, according to a statement from Douglas Band, counselor to the former president.