Clinton in good spirits as he prepares for open heart surgery this week
Sunday 05 September 2004
Former president Bill Clinton is telling friends he is in good spirits despite facing the challenge of a multiple bypass operation for blocked blood vessels to the heart. The procedure is likely to be undertaken at the beginning of this week, perhaps as early as tomorrow.
Speaking to CNN's Larry King show on Friday evening from his bed at the Columbia Presbyterian hospital in Manhattan, Mr Clinton, who turned 58 last month and had no previous history of heart trouble, joked: "Let me just say this - Republicans aren't the only people who want four more years here."
Asked if he was nervous to undergo open heart surgery, Mr Clinton replied that he was "a little scared, but not much. I'm looking forward to it. I want to get back. I want to see what it's like to run five miles again".
The former president's illness appeared to come out of the blue. Friends said he began to experience mild chest pains and shortness of breath in the middle of last week. He underwent initial tests at a hospital near the home he shares with his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Westchester County, New York, on Thursday morning and was sent home.
However, he returned to the hospital on Friday morning and X-rays showed he had significant blockages of the bloodflow to his heart. He was then taken to the Presbyterian hospital on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, world-renowned for its heart surgery team.
Sources close to Mr Clinton said he is likely to undergo either triple or quadruple bypass surgery where pieces of blood vessel are cut from elsewhere in the body and used to detour around the diseased arteries. If all goes well, he will stay in hospital for several days.
The setback is almost certain, however, to prohibit the former president from fulfilling a pledge to the Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, to speak for him in the last 60-day stretch of the American election campaign. In recent weeks, he had been increasingly involving himself in the battle against President Bush.
But medical experts said that Mr Clinton could look forward to getting back to normal in the longer term. They pointed to Vice-President Dick Cheney, who suffered heart attacks in 1978, 1984, 1988 and 2000. Mr Cheney underwent bypass surgery in 1988.
The good news for Mr Clinton is that the chest pains gave him an early warning before he suffered any kind of heart attack. The angiogram X-ray tests on Friday revealed "multi-vessel coronary artery disease, normal heart function and no heart attack," said Dr Anthony Pucillo, who performed them.
That Mr Clinton was facing heart surgery came as a shock to friends and neighbours in Westchester who noted that he had lost a considerable amount of weight in recent months, in part by committing himself to the rigours of the low-carb South Beach diet.
As President, he enjoyed mostly good health, marred only by slight hearing loss and a cancerous lesion on his nose. He was famous, however, for enjoying fast and fatty foods, regularly tucking into cheeseburgers and fries.
- 1 Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...