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Heart Disease Health Center

Former President George W. Bush Gets Heart Stent

Procedure successful after artery blockage found during his annual physical
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He added, "Sometimes we are fooled to think that heart disease only impacts people who are overweight, eat unhealthy and have multiple medical problems. That is just not true. Our job in the medical community is to educate people to know their own risk factors, how to modify them, and when you need to have more of an evaluation."

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that Bush "underwent a stent implantation of his coronary artery due to an abnormal stress test."

She added, "Blockages of the artery, or atherosclerosis, develop from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, stress, sedentary lifestyle and family history. His job now will be to modify those risk factors to keep all of them in check."

And she said, "Lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, will be a part of this regimen as well as medications. The stent allows for blood flow through the artery, but is not a cure for atherosclerosis. Although a relatively simple procedure, it is more like a Band-Aid then an overall solution. The next phase is prevention through healthy lifestyle choices, through diet, managing stress and continued exercise."

A stent is a small mesh tube used to treat narrow or weak arteries, which carry blood away from the heart to other parts of the body. According to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the stent is placed in an artery as part of a procedure called angioplasty. It helps support the inner wall of the artery in the months or years after angioplasty.

Heart procedures on blocked arteries include cardiac catheterizations and percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI), like angioplasty. And they are fairly common.

According to the American Heart Association, in 2010 alone, an estimated 492,000 patients, 67 percent of them men, underwent PCI procedures in the United States.

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