October 15th, 2013
08:07 AM ET
1 year ago

Bush had 95% blockage before August heart procedure, sources say

(CNN) - Former President George W. Bush's heart situation that caused him to undergo a procedure in August was more serious than originally thought, as two sources close to the 43rd president now confirm he had a 95% blockage in an artery.

Bush, 67, had a stent placed in his heart in August at a Dallas hospital one day after the blockage was discovered.

While a 95% blockage is significant, Bush's doctors are not commenting about how grave the situation may or may not have been.

National Journal first reported the level of the blockage, but one source close to Bush downplayed any reports of a near-death experience. Another source said "it was very serious."

The rate at which a vessel becomes blocked is more important than the overall blockage, and the heart can do a good job of compensating, if it has time.

"Certainly President Bush was at significant risk having a 95% blockage in one of his coronary arteries. That doesn't mean he was going to have a heart attack," Warren Levy, a cardiologist, told CNN. "But certainly he was at significant risk for a heart attack and something did need to be done."

Marc Siegel, a physician and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center, penned a column for USA Today in August praising the doctors' fast work on Bush's heart.

"Bush's stress test showed EKG changes, and what happened next was also prudent. A CT angiogram revealed a severe blockage in a crucial position in a coronary artery that was easily life threatening," he wrote.

Bush said last month at a golf tournament for other wounded veterans that he's "doing fine."

"Other than the fact that I nearly bled to death when I nicked myself shaving because I'm taking blood thinner, I'm doing pretty good," he joked in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America." "I thought you were going to have to put a tourniquet on me."

Over Memorial Day weekend, Bush led another group of wounded warriors on an annual long distance bike ride at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

The 43rd president was known for having good health during his tenure at the White House. For exercise, he was an active runner and frequently rode his mountain bike.

– CNN's John King, Erin McPike, Andrew Morse, and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: George W. Bush
soundoff (360 Responses)
  1. Jacob Miller

    Well I'm glad he's doing better now, and I hope he continues to do well.

    October 15, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. YeahRight

    It's amazing what you can do even with a 95% blockage in an artery. Just because you feel 100% healthy does not mean you should not get routine medical screenings for things like this – and the best part is that you don't even have to get an expensive stress test in the "medical system" where everything costs 10x what it should.

    Just about any gym has the equipment to do a cardiac stress test, and the fees are quite reasonable, because they are mainly used as a sales technique to get you to sign up for expensive personal training and nutrition counseling. I get my stress test done annually at a local gym for about $150, which includes VO2, Lactose Threshold, EKG, Pulse-Ox, and some other things.

    October 15, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Robert

    Say what you want about his politics, but George Bush is one of the most decent individuals I know.

    October 15, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. joe palmer

    Which artery? This is important (and overlooked) information; shoddy reporting. The rear (anterior) descending? Not so serious) aorta? major league serious.

    CNN reporting is superficial and lacks any depth

    October 15, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. peavey

    Hope he's got Health Insurance...

    October 15, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  6. jinx9to88

    I am not a George Bush fan, but glad he is doing fine.

    October 15, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. Paul

    Odd that the "good health" comment during Bush's tenure in the White House did not mention the Lyme Disease that he was aggressively treated for.

    October 15, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. vinster76

    Stay well Mr. President and live a long and happy life. Your successor is ruining us politically, economically, diplomatically, and culturally, ruining our health care system, and destroying the adhesiveness that kept us all americans.......But, despite that, you stay well................

    October 15, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. danita

    Wow -there going to fire Obama for bamacare.... Outstanding...

    October 15, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. PeterD

    President Bush was a Great Liberator. He Liberated the People of Afghanistan and Iraq from the Dictators. While President Obama is a Great Debtator and Divider. He indebted People of America with $$ 17 Trillion Debt with his Reckless Spending Policies.

    October 15, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. Mara Tam

    He has a heart? and, no worries, he has health care up the wazzoo

    October 15, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. Rick

    Who would`ve thought we `d be looking at the Bush jr. president years w/ nostalgia so soon ! Ah , the good ole days ...

    October 15, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  13. Don DaMiddle

    Interesting...
    Bush's heart circulation is the same as the GOP approval rating... 5%.

    October 15, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  14. bob

    " golf tournament for other wounded veterans "

    This seems to imply that Bush was a wounded vet- not even close.

    October 15, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  15. Golden Policy!

    Well isn't it lucky for him that he has the very best healthcare in the world? What a shame he didn't help everyone else get some during his horrible reign of terror on the world.

    October 15, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. Paul

    Glad he's OK. Surprising as he is supposed to live a relatively healthy lifestyle.
    Hated him as president, like him better as a person and wish him well.

    October 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. SSampson

    Finally – an explanation – Bush wasn't getting enough blood – ergo oxygen – to his brain... And Cheney was low on batteries...

    October 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. Proud Texan

    Good bless you sir...

    October 15, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. Everest

    While he was a terrible president, I'm glad he is well. The scary thing is that he always seemed to be in excellent shape. I'm glad they caught this in time. Here's to your recovery, Mr. President (but you were still a terrible president).

    October 15, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  20. ME

    President Bush
    I wish you well

    October 15, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  21. THR

    Gosh, are cigars BAD for you or something??? :O

    October 15, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  22. Craig in Pa.

    All is good...he doesn't have to worry about health insurance.......

    October 15, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. Ken from FL

    Believe me, a 95% blockage is serious (having undergone three coronary artery catheter procedures myself but not soon enough to prevent a heart attack). Here's a guy who exercised constantly and had a reasonable diet from what I understand, yet developed serious blockages. Heart problems can grab anyone. Get yourself checked out.

    October 15, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  24. GG

    Lucky for him he had preventative health care, probably paid by his insurance. Lucky for him he didn't have to rely on his fellow republican health plan for the uninsured Without insurance he would have had health coverage, only it would have only been after he showed up in an emergency room, hopefully alive after severe heart attack. After which the hospital would have attached any assets he may have had to pay the inflated medical debt. Without insurance he would have been charged inflated rates for care vs. the insurance companies contracted rates. Of course the end result if the hospital could not find assets to collect the debt, everyone else who pays for care at the hospital through insurance would have paid for the care he received.

    October 15, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  25. bob

    Get well soon!

    October 15, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
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