Former President George W. Bush underwent a successful cardiac procedure today that involved the placement of a stent to repair a blocked artery, according to several news sources. The blockage was discovered yesterday and the president agreed to move forward with the procedure at the recommendation of his doctors, said Bush spokesman Freddy Ford.

You might be wondering, what a cardiac stent is and how it works?

Heart Stent George BushCoronary stent placement is an example of a cardiac interventional procedure whose primary purpose is to restore blood flow to the heart muscle. This is a non-surgical procedure that is significantly less invasive than traditional open heart surgery.

Before inserting the stent, an interventional cardiologist will perform a cardiac catheterization in order to determine the best treatment needed to restore blood flow to the patient’s heart. This minimally invasive procedure uses a thin, flexible tube inserted into the coronary artery to produce an X-ray image of the heart’s blood supply. The stent, a small tube shaped metal scaffold, is often inserted during what is called an angioplasty, a procedure where a small balloon is guided across a narrowing in an artery and inflated in order to unblock that artery.

Dr. Michael Castine, M.D., FACC, interventional cardiologist at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, says that other options for treating coronary artery disease, or blockages in the arteries supplying the heart’s muscle, include medication and coronary artery bypass surgery. He explains that the former president’s physicians likely determined that the degree of blockage and their particular anatomic locations were best suited to angioplasty, in consultation with and consideration of Mr. Bush’s wishes and his prior medical history.

Dr. Castine says that physicians also consider the following factors when they are determining whether to recommend particular cardiac interventional procedures and possible bypass surgery:

  • General medical condition of the patient
  • Age of the patient
  • Patient’s prior medical history
  • Patient’s medication regimen as well as their compliance with their regimen
  • The actual anatomy of the blood supply to the heart muscle

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If you have questions about your heart health, please speak with your doctor. To find a cardiologist in your area call 1-800-642-0101 or visit