President George W. Bush Heart Procedure: Stents Explained

ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser explains circumstances that often lead to the procedure.
3:00 | 08/06/13

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Transcript for President George W. Bush Heart Procedure: Stents Explained
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello again to -- New -- with the CBC news digital special report for president George W. Bush is recovering from cardiovascular surgery today. The former president who -- 67. -- in for his annual physical exam at the Cooper clinic in Dallas and while their doctors discovered a blockage in one of his arteries. A stent procedure occurred. Last night's and we are just getting word of it today and I want to bring in ABC's chief health and medical editor doctor Richard pastor who spent a bit more about the procedure and recovery doctor -- thanks for being with us today. So to talk a little bit about the discovery of this blockage -- the president went in for physical exam would that discover -- would that -- to -- discovered a blockage well. You what's indicated on a routine physical exam would not have discovered -- blockage but as part of the physical exam he had. He had a stress testing -- and the stress test is where they put you through exercises in their monitoring your heart to see what happens. When they did that for him they found changes in his EKG has electrocardiogram. Data indicating his heart might not be getting as much oxygen as much blood as it as it should. They then did -- CT. Of his heart. Found a blockage in an artery and then they went in and -- a procedure. To open that up you know given the fact that it was discovered yesterday the -- that surgery was performed last night is that any indication for the the seriousness of this or is that kind of a standard procedure well it's it's it's fairly standard if you if you see a blockage in and then you're gonna do what's called an angiogram where you inserted -- to look at at that -- did you get that you would you would corrected it -- at the same time. In someone who's not having symptoms there's not a real urgency. And and you don't. While I haven't examined him -- and don't know but from his people we're hearing he had no symptoms. Many would question whether he should -- had a stress test of this procedure at all I -- -- 67 years old he used to biker tremendous and nine -- relatively active. Healthy guy so I think a lot a lot there might be asking themselves to some and they should be looking yeah and and that's what that's where I I would definitely urged caution in people who were not having any symptoms there's no indication the American Heart Association says. You should not do -- stress test. Because -- stress test is to look for blockage but you only repair blockage in some -- -- having symptoms because the value of opening of that artery. Is to relieve the symptoms and that's what it does and you can't make some of them would say who make somebody. -- not having any symptoms feel any better because their party feeling great that you brought us that -- he explained the passing drew little bit yes so this this is distended it you may be hard to hear it's a little wire mesh to. And what it does is they -- -- they put this up. -- artery through your leg into the arteries around your heart OK and then they use a balloon to open the blockage that there there's a -- and so they use that over up. And then they leave this behind and what is its hollow into the blood can flow through there and he keeps that artery open. And what does that that the blockage is break out. Well I think it gave it to some it does break up they did a lot of it's hard and so you're opening up and -- still there but now there's a senator to -- -- blood blood can. -- -- a couple years back President Clinton had the same procedure beyond that he was very public about the fact that he changed his diet exercise a lot more this was all going to head. Chelsea's wedding right com and as we're just talking about President Bush are very active -- so is a blockage a sign of age is a sign of health and lifestyle yeah you know -- I'd I think did that. You have to situations here -- night and day different Oca President Clinton had a long history of heart disease and in some with this history was having symptoms. Putting in a stent opening up arteries can relieve those those symptoms and someone who. Can't be controlled with medicine it can -- it can really help the heart health. In someone who is not having any heart symptoms at all. It really doesn't add anything there's nothing to say that it -- your life that reduces risk of heart attack or anything so isn't that kind of night be different. From what I understand President Bush very active eats healthy. Not having any heart problems he he he should -- -- long and healthy life which is why the concern is out there that if in fact if you might not necessarily need a procedure like this this is something you need to really think about -- you need to think hard about this the people who should ask about about having a stress test. Anyone who's having chest pain he's getting tired walking upstairs you're having any light -- -- shortness of breath. New symptoms like that you wanna talk about it because they could be signs -- -- heart isn't getting all the oxygen and blood that it needs in this could be part of the evaluation. Good information -- -- -- to thank you so much for certainly appreciate the explanation and shedding some light -- this obviously a lot of people concerned find out when the president goes. If per procedure they want and no one how he's feeling into it it's an issue that they should be facing themselves well I mean it's great he's doing well it's a low risk procedure he should be up -- about very quickly -- -- -- thank you so much of course you can -- of the latest on the president's recovery. He is expected to be released from the hospital tomorrow and his press offices saying he hopes to be back on his scheduled by Thursday complete report and abcnews.com. For now I'm Dan Cutler in New York. With this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special group. Report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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