Former US President George W Bush Gets a Stent

August 06, 2013

DALLAS, TX (updated) — Former US President George W Bush received a stent at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas today after a blockage was discovered during a routine physical examination[1].

A Bush spokesperson said the blockage was discovered during his annual physical exam Monday at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. After the stenosis was uncovered, Bush agreed to receive a stent at the cath labs of Presbyterian Hospital, where the procedure went smoothly and without complication. He is said to be in "high spirits" and eager to return home.

So far, there is no information about the extent and location of the stenosis. Freddy Ford, a Bush spokesperson, told multiple media outlets that the former president underwent a stress test as part of his physical examination, although he did not have any symptoms of coronary artery disease. An abnormal finding on the ECG led to a computed tomography (CT) angiogram where the coronary lesion was detected.

Dr Richard Besser, the chief medical correspondent for ABC News, said that given that Bush had no symptoms, many in the medical community would question whether he should have had the procedure at all[2].

The American Heart Association states that in asymptomatic individuals a stress test should not be part of routine screening. Besser went on to say only symptomatic patients receive stents because the point of the procedure is to relieve symptoms. "You can't make somebody who's not having any symptoms feel any better, because they're already feeling great."

Dr Steven Nissen (Cleveland Clinic, OH) expressed a similar sentiment to USA Today, noting that Bush recently completed a 100-km bicycle ride in support of wounded US soldiers[3]. Nissen said that routine stress testing in patients without symptoms can lead to procedures that are not indicated. He added that Bush likely "got the classical thing that happens to VIP patients, when they get so-called executive physicals and they get a lot of tests that aren't indicated. This is American medicine at its worst."

CNN reports that a 2006 medical examination revealed that Bush had no signs of hypertension or other modifiable risk factors and that he had a "low" to "very low" coronary artery disease risk profile. The medical report also states he had some minimal/mild calcification of the coronary arteries.

Prior to his presidency, as well as during it, Bush was an active recreational runner and cyclist. Bush's former Vice President Dick Cheney, on the other hand, had a well-documented battle with heart disease. Cheney received a new heart last year.

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