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Bill Clinton back at work after heart procedure

By Reuters
Former US President Bill Clinton was back to work on Haiti relief and doing 'very well" on Friday a day after a successful heart procedure to open a blocked artery to his heart that caused him chest discomfort.

Television footage showed Clinton, president from 1993 to 2001 and currently UN special envoy to Haiti, walking to his vehicle as he left the hospital in Manhattan and arriving home later in the New York suburb of Chappaqua.

"I'm doing very well. I feel very blessed. I was fortunate that you know I kind of had a feeling about it," Clinton told reporters in televised comments after returning home.

He said he had felt "a little bit of tingling, not pain" four days ago and "I thought I ought to check it out."

After he left the hospital, Clinton, 63, issued a statement marking the one-month anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti that killed more than 200,000 people and left more than a million homeless.

"Despite its staggering losses, Haiti still has a chance to escape the chains of the past and the ruins of the earthquake. But we all will have to do what we can today," he said.

Clinton had quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2004 to free up four blocked arteries. The latest incident came after he traveled twice to Haiti to help recovery efforts.

Two stents were placed in one of Clinton's coronary arteries after tests showed one of the arteries operated on in 2004 needed to be reopened, Dr. Allan Schwartz, head of cardiology at Presbyterian/Columbia, told reporters.

He said there was no indication Clinton had a heart attack or any damage to his heart. Schwartz said Clinton could resume his "very active lifestyle" and gave the president an "excellent" prognosis.

Clinton told reporters, "It's miraculous what they do with the stents.

"They just go in and go out and I didn't take any sedatives or anything, so I was alert," Clinton said, adding he watched the procedure on a monitor.

Clinton's wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, arrived at the hospital on Thursday evening, joining daughter Chelsea.

A senior administration official told Reuters that Hillary Clinton's departure to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, planned for Friday, was delayed to Saturday but that the delay would not affect her meetings in the two countries.

The White House said Clinton told President Barack Obama he felt "absolutely great" after the procedure.


Having stents placed in heart arteries is a relatively quick and routine procedure among patients like Clinton who have suffered from heart disease.

Stents are tiny mesh tubes used to prop open heart arteries that have been cleared of blockages via angioplasty. They are often coated with drugs to help prevent reclogging.

Clinton, like many Americans, has struggled with his weight.

While in office, he was known for his love of burgers and junk food and was also seen jogging regularly.

After his 2004 operation, he looked fitter than while he was president -- something he attributed to the South Beach diet, which excludes processed foods and favors lean meat.

Clinton joined with former President George H.W. Bush in a public campaign to raise money for survivors of the December 26, 2004, tsunami in Asia that killed more than 300,000 people.

He also established a foundation to build his legacy beyond the White House that has pushed big companies and wealthy people to try to fix some of the world's worst problems.

Most recently, Clinton, as UN special envoy to Haiti, has co-ordinated relief efforts after the January 12 earthquake.


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