Former U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday underwent successful surgery to place a stent in a blocked heart artery. Doctors at a Dallas hospital discovered the problem Monday during a routine check of Bush's health, and scheduled the surgery to implant the stent for the next day.
Doctors said they were trying to figure out what had caused the blockage. The 67 year old Bush is an avid exerciser who hikes and bikes on a regular basis. Since leaving the Presidency in 2008, after serving two terms, Bush has participated in several long-distance bike events.
A stent is a mesh tube inserted into a conduit in the body – in this case, an artery directly connected to the heart - to enable a freer and steadier flow of blood. The procedure takes about 45 minutes to an hour, and most leave the hospital the same day.
When Bush was president, his approval ratings dipped to precariously low levels several times during his second term. A recent Gallup poll showed that 49% of Americans viewed his tenure as president favorably, versus 46% who did not. It was the first time since 2005 that more Americans viewed his administration positively than negatively.