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. tv22

    Funny how people are criticizing him for having insurance through his employer and his related retirement plan which we give to Presidents. This would not change under what the GOP wants.

    Get well Mr. President.

    October 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Mike from CO

    Obama talked so much trash about bush before he was organizer in chief, and now as president he continues to keep 90% of Bush's policies... I love politicians, they're the biggist crooks!"

    A wise man once said you campaign in poetry, you govern in prose. The only one who knows the meaning and purpose of programs is the President himself. You can talk and campaign all you want against certain things, but you never really see their purpose or their value until you're the one sitting the chair.

    October 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. JamVee

    Honestly, some people are so cruel, it's hard for me to imagine them actually being HUMAN.

    I hope all that bile comes up in their throats some night and chokes them (not all the way to death, that would make me just like them . . . , just close to it)!

    October 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Dean

    Sashatree – According to polls, Bush now has a more favorable rating than Obama.

    October 15, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. peter s.

    I have annual physicals and tread mill stress tests and every year same result "you are okay but lose some weight" Sooo I asked my cardio doc "How accurate are these heart tests & blood work"?? 80% and I said I want 100% ..okay so they did angio and discovered I was 95% blocked (I have a DVD copy to prove). Two stents largest (3mm) Note;I would have died within 12 months Therefore; my tests were "partially accurate"....

    October 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. PeterD

    Do you Miss me yet Americas?

    – President George Bush.

    October 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Dave

    @Sashatree – Sorry, but your are an idiot if you believe that garbage.

    October 15, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Bob

    Ah, the love of the tolerant and caring left is just overwhelming. They only want others to care about their groups. Was Bush perfect? No, but certainly Iraq is better off without Saddam, and we had to go to Afghanistan.

    October 15, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. alpeaston

    What a terrible shame... that he pulled through! This creep caused all the nightmarish financial crap we have had to face over the last 10 years so I can't wait to say "bye-bye" to him forever! Too bad this was not that opportunity!

    October 15, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. bubba's cousin

    Hope you get well soon Senator

    October 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. choir loft

    Near death experience? I thought I saw a rat at the end of a tunnel. Still don't know if it was Bush or Cheney. But it was no light and that's for sure.....
    and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    October 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. R Berger

    He probably eats nothing but garbage just like the vast majority of Americans do. Especially republicans. He needs a clean diet made up of real foods and a constantly varied fitness program to get his butt in shape. Or he'll die in a year or two and no one will be surprised.

    October 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. alfuc

    This is surprised to many of us. Did he really have a HEART?

    October 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. mmmisewicz

    I hope that he and his family have Health Insurance. God Bless those that don't and would have to suffer through this without it being treated. They're just left to DIE.

    October 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. C. Smith

    Glad he's ok.

    October 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Tj

    Let's never forget that this man put us in the spot we are in now. Let's never forget that he started a pointless, needless war which lead to thousands of American casualties. Let's never forget that he defunded the sciences, including stem cell research, for purely ideological reasons. At least he can't hurt us anymore, unless he runs for a lower office.

    October 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. Dennis

    Wow, I love the people who took an opportunity to Bush bash a little more. Obviously the government shutdown is his fault, as well as the Salmonella problem in California.

    Glad to see an ex-President receive the amazing health care that this nation is known for. I would not begrudge a man who spent some of the prime years of his life in the highest stress position in the world this care. Call him what you will, but only a few dozen people have worn that mantle and even the worst was still the American president.

    October 15, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Malory Archer


    Sashatree – According to polls, Bush now has a more favorable rating than Obama.


    Yeah, and five years after President Obama finishes his second term his approvals will be in the 90s.

    October 15, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Mike Denney

    Anybody else miss the irony that this is listed under the 'political ticker' page here on CNN?

    October 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. mpouxesas

    Now, if they could only had given a heart to cheney, a real one i mean...we wouldn't be in the mess we are now...

    October 15, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Not Too Hard To Understand

    95% blockage would have to mean diminished blood flow to the brain. Does this explain the man's below average IQ in any way?

    October 15, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. GeminiGirl66

    At the age of 86 my grandma broke her hip and it was discovered before they did the repairs that she had 2 arteries that were 99% blocked and 2 others that were blocked. Within that day she had a quadrupedal bypass and 2 days later they gave her a new hip. I wished I had contacted CNN to let everyone know that she had blocked arteries. Her healthcare wasn't as good as the ex-presidents. it took 3 days of tests before they did the final test that discovered the blockages. Had they not done the last test she would not have survived the hip surgery and gone on to live another 5 years with my grandpa.

    October 15, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Jimmy

    @alpeaston is still blaming George Bush for the financial crisis.
    Silly me..........And I thought it was because of the housing bubble
    e.g. People buying home they couldn't afford, but then I guess George W forced them to do that.

    BTW: Thanks President Obama for bring us together like you promised.
    No surprise, when you elect a progressive liberal left wing then you get divided Government.
    Thanks Mr Presiednt for starting the TEA party, they only exist because of you.

    October 15, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Ray

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

    "Other"? That would imply that Mr. Bush is a wounded veteran. Since he never saw combat, "other" should be omitted.

    Mr. Bush is not up there with my favorite presidents, but I would not wish a heart attack on my worst enemy. Glad he was able to get the care so many others cannot afford.

    October 15, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. Tom

    Nice that he has health insurance to be checked. Some of us don't.

    October 15, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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