President George W. Bush successfully underwent heart surgery this morning to open a blocked artery, his office said in a statement.
The surgery followed Bush’s annual physical exam in Dallas Monday when doctors found the blockage. A stent, which is a tube that is placed in the artery to keep it open, was placed this morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital without complications.
“President Bush is in high spirits, eager to return home tomorrow and resume his normal schedule on Thursday,” according to the statement from Freddy Ford, a Bush spokesman.
The minimally invasive procedure is “very common” and takes about an hour to complete, according to Dr. John McPherson, a cardiovascular specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Blockages of the artery can be diagnosed if there are symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath during exercise, or by way of a stress test — either physical exercise on a treadmill, or taking medicine that simulates exercise.
Ford said Bush exhibited no symptoms before his physical.
“He had a stress test as part of his annual physical,” Ford said. “During the stress test there were EKG changes, which prompted a CT angiogram that confirmed the blockage.”
Bush, 67, was an avid biker and runner as president and every spring he hosts a 100-K bike ride with U.S. service members as part of the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative.
But his age puts him at risk for developing heart disease, McPherson said.
“As somebody who appears to take care of themselves and is very healthy its always surprising when they develop heart disease,” Vanderbilt’s McPherson told ABC News. “His healthy lifestyle may have delayed the onset of this by several years.”
ABC News’ Ann Compton contributed to this report.