George W. Bush has surgery to install stent into heart

Photo: Associated Press

DALLAS, Texas (AP/WJLA) -- Former President George W. Bush successfully underwent a heart procedure in Dallas on Tuesday after doctors discovered a blockage in an artery during his annual physical, Bush spokesman Freddy Ford said.

If it wasn’t for a routine doctor’s visit, Bush might not have discovered he had a blocked heart artery until it was too late.

During and following his eight years in office, Bush was the picture of health and fitness – often pictured outpacing his secret service detail during his daily runs. But cardiologists say a vigorous exercise routine won’t necessarily prevent clogged heart arteries.

"At the recommendation of his doctors, President Bush agreed to have a stent placed to open the blockage," Ford said. "The procedure was performed successfully this morning, without complication, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital."

In order to fix the problem and allow blood to once again flow freely through the artery, doctors performed and angiogram and then placed a small mesh tube called a ‘stent’ in his heart.

A statement released on Tuesday from a Bush spokesperson says that the former president “thanks his family, friends, and fellow citizens for their prayers and well wishes. And he encourages us all to get our regular checkups.”

Bush, 67, was expected to be discharged Wednesday and resume his normal schedule the following day. He was described as being "in high spirits" and eager to return home.