Bill Clinton Released From Hospital, Prognosis 'Excellent'

Former president leaves hospital less than 24 hours after stent procedure.

ByABC News
February 11, 2010, 4:36 PM

Feb. 12, 2010 — -- Former president Bill Clinton left a New York hospital this morning, less than 24 hours after he was admitted and had two stents inserted into one of his coronary arteries.

Clinton, 63, was buoyed by an "excellent" prognosis and a flood of get well wishes, including from President Obama and the two former president Bushes.

His office issued a statement this morning saying that Clinton was released from New York City's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital "in excellent health."

"He looks forward in the days ahead to getting back to the work of his Foundation, and to Haiti relief and recovery efforts," the statement said.

The former president praised the surgeons who installed the two stents in his coronary artery, Dr. Mark Apfelbaum and Dr. Michael Collins.

"President Clinton would also like to thank the many people who extended their best wishes to him for a quick recovery," the statement said.

Clinton, who had a quadruple heart bypass operation in 2004, was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Thursday afternoon after complaining of brief episodes of chest discomfort over the past few days, even while at rest.

His cardiologist, Dr. Allen Schwartz, chief of cardiology at New York City's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, performed an angiography, finding no evidence of a heart attack or damage to Clinton's heart.

Pictures taken of Clinton's arteries and of bypass grafts he received four years ago revealed that one of the grafts was blocked. Because of that problem, doctors placed two stents in his coronary artery. A stent is a wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery.

The insertion of two stents "makes him less susceptible to future heart attacks," Schwartz said. "His prognosis is excellent."

The blockage was typical of the "natural history" of bypass treatment, which has a 10 to 20 percent failure rate five years after the surgery, according to Schwartz.

"This was not a result of his lifestyle or diet, which have been excellent," he said, adding that Clinton is "in excellent condition, as evidenced both by what he does and objective testing."

The former president's counselor, Douglas Band, released a statement Thursday saying that Clinton, currently the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, is in "good spirits and will continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti's relief and long-term recovery efforts."

Clinton's doctor described the ex-president as "up and walking around and visiting with his family," adding that the former president probably will be able to go back to work on Monday.

"The goal of the treatment ... is for President Clinton to resume his very active lifestyle," he said.

ABC News' chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos, who once worked for Clinton in the White House, noted Clinton's non-stop work ethic and said the former president has worked "20 hours a day for the last 20 years."

Clinton's daughter Chelsea and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both were by the former president's bed, according to Schwartz.

Sources told ABC News that Secretary Clinton was "very concerned when told about the president, given his heart history" and that it made everyone "very nervous."

Her husband had his 2004 bypass operation at the same hospital.

Secretary Clinton's planned departure Friday for a trip to Qatar and Saudi Arabia has been delayed, a U.S official told ABC News.