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Bill Clinton hospitalized in NYC with chest pains, two stents implanted in coronary arteries

February 11, 2010 |  1:59 pm

Bill Clinton

Ex-President Bill Clinton, who is 63, was hospitalized in New York City today for chest discomfort.

Clinton was admitted to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan where he had bypass surgery in 2004.

Clinton's wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was seen this afternoon leaving the Oval Office and did not seem "too concerned" or "in a rush," according to witnesses. The secretary is scheduled to begin a five-day trip to Qatar and Saudi Arabia this weekend and there was no immediate indication those plans have been changed, although the secretary did fly to New York City this afternoon.

Bill Clinton, who has suffered from overweight often in his life and has a proclivity for hamburgers, lost considerable weight after his previous heart problem and bypass surgery in 2004. The latest pain likely came from a partial blockage of an artery and the stents would reopen the passage. He is expected to stay in the hospital a day or two.

According to a statement released by Douglas Band, a counselor to the ex-president, Clinton had two stents implanted Thursday:

Today President Bill Clinton was admitted to the Columbia Campus of New York Presbyterian Hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest.

Following a visit to his cardiologist, he underwent a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries. President Clinton is in good spirits, and will continue to focus on the work of his Foundation and Haiti's relief and long-term recovery efforts.

In 2004, President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries.

The ex-president has a condition of heart disease requiring loss of weight and more attention to his diet. He has maintained a vigorous globe-traveling schedule. He was just in Haiti last week. But reported feeling ill two days ago.

The stent, basically a wire mesh tube-shape, is inserted in the groin and moved up the artery to the blockage, then expanded to open blood flow through the accumulated plaque. It has become a common procedure in the United States, probably about a million per year, and Clinton would be likely to spend at least one day in the hospital to monitor and prevent and re-closure of the blockages.

After a few days' rest he would be expected to resume a normal schedule.

(UPDATE: 6 p.m.: Doctors said the ex-president had experienced repetitive chest discomfort in recent days and since they occurred while he was resting, doctors became suspicious. Tests showed one of his grafts from 2004 had become completely blocked. Stents were implanted. Blood flow resumed, All went smoothly. And Clinton can return to his office Monday.)

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press

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