October 15th, 2013
08:07 AM ET
9 years 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.

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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. Todd

    Big deal George, I had a 95% blockage when I had my first M.I at age 34. Now at age 47, I have 3 more blockages, one at 90 %, with no health coverage to deal with this problem. My 90% block is in my left anterior descending artery. Its very serious, but unlike myself. I'm sure George has the finest healthcare to fix his issue. This country and Healthcare system is soooo broken.

    October 15, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Romnesia

    Glad he has unlimited free Health Coverage! Good thing he does, or he'd probably be dead for lack of coverage.

    October 15, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. TheMovieFan

    I may not have cared for him as president but I wish him well and a speedy recovery.

    October 15, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Richard Long – We will get the Obamacare rates soon enough, and you will be shown to, once again, be on the wrong side of history. Size problem?

    October 15, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Richard Miller

    I knew there was a blockage but I thought it was in his intellectual artery.

    October 15, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. Bessy

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I just can't bring myself to care enough to comment.
    That's exactly how I feel " Mama ". There are a lot of dead and wounded vets out there because of his getting us involved in a war that was never necessary. I care and worry about them.

    October 15, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. We Like Ike

    Did he go running with those vets with no legs promised because quote on quote "they make 'em better then they used 2B"

    October 15, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Mike

    Well Robert, since you know him so well perhaps you could tell us that with everything that was going on prior to the attack on 9/11 this this "most decent individual" was not at his command post but sitting comfortably in a room full of kindergarteners when the attacked took place.

    October 15, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Frank

    George Bush Number 2 has a heart? Wow, that's news to me.

    It's a good for him he has healthcare paid for my US TAXPAYERS. But, it's NOT good for us that he never did anything to help uninsured Americans while he was in office. I now understand that "compassionate conservative" really means "heartless chickenhawk who's always ready to start a war if it helps him prove to his daddy that he's super brave." For Bush Number 2, bravery is measured in the number of American soldiers sent to die in a pointless war.

    October 15, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. dunno

    I see the mean spirited retoric some post here and it make me sad for my country. President Bush led the country through a difficult time, and no, I didn't agree with all of his decisions. We wish you well Mr. President.

    October 15, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. Frank

    Well, since he can't do anymore harm to the country...

    Get well soon!

    October 15, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. gaypsp

    I guess that personality bypass procedure didn't help his heart.

    October 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. Malory Archer


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


    "WE" don't, so get over this idea that you speak for anything more than a small minority of ignorants and sychophants.

    October 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. Malory Archer


    All the Bush haters come out of the woodwork.


    Yeah, except I went back through the message thread, and that's just not the case. However, there are many Obama haters who are using this thread to trash him. Thanks for playing though. Now take your little strawman and put him away.

    October 15, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Neal

    The real news here is that Bush has a heart.

    October 15, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. Petercha

    Thank God that they found the problem and fixed it. I wish President Bush a quick and complete recovery.

    October 15, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. Petercha

    Sad to see so many hateful comments in here. Have a heart, people.

    October 15, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. don in albuquerque

    Yawn, are we supposed to care about this old war criminal or something? Oh and "dunno" (what an appropriate name), W created most of the difficult times that will probably continue to haunt this country for decades.

    October 15, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Peter

    I had an M.I. at the age of 47 with an 85% percent blockage in my L.A.D(left anterior descending). Here I am 13 years later, the artery remains open fully. I dropped 50 pounds by diet change and quit smoking cigs( still enjoy that occasional cigar). My cardiologist expects no further issues based on my numbers with cholesterol and ejection fraction. Life can be healthy again following an M.I with good care and changes.

    October 15, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. Malory Archer


    Sad to see so many hateful comments in here. Have a heart, people.


    Right on Petercha – the haters really do need to stop hijacking message threads to bash President Obama, and maybe see a psychiatrist.

    October 15, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. Judy

    Who cares? More of our tax dollars at work. Between Cheney's new heart and Bush's surgery, how much has that cost the American tax payers?

    October 15, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. Larry in Houston

    between him /rumsfeld/cheny/&paulson – they should have air lifted them to Alcatraz,& left them there, for life.

    October 15, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. Iggy

    Thank god my tax dollars went to save a cheat for a president and a war criminal.

    October 15, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. Rob

    Regardless what the media tells you to think, President Bush was pro-American, well liked and respected and made decisions in Americas favour. How refreshing is that today? And he was never given credit for being only one of two Presidents who presided over attacks on US soil. I have heard people criticize his response to the terrorists but nobody yet has given me a better response. He deserves credit and history will reflect that.

    October 15, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. Ginny Egan

    They put a stent in the blood vessel to hold it open, not in his heart. And what "wounded warrior?" Bush never saw action. He avoided Vietnam service by joining the National Guard, which stayed at home back then. He didn't show up much for Guard duty anyway. And why should he have? Daddy was rich and powerful and could buy him out of trouble - and did.

    October 15, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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