NEW YORK — Former President Clinton, who underwent major surgery to clear blocked arteries six years ago, suffered chest pains Thursday and was taken to a New York hospital where doctors inserted stents in one of his coronary arteries, according to a close aide.
Clinton, 63, was "in good spirits" after the procedure, said Douglas Band, counselor to the former chief executive.
Clinton began experiencing "discomfort" in his chest and was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital in Harlem, Band said in a statement. It was not immediately clear where Clinton was when he was stricken, but the headquarters of his William J. Clinton Foundation is also in Harlem.
According to a White House official, President Obama "spoke to Clinton shortly before 7 p.m. (Eastern time) and wished him a speedy recovery.... Clinton said he was feeling 'absolutely great.' "
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The insertion of the stents, which are used to prop open arteries, was done after consultation with Clinton's cardiologist, the statement said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who learned of her husband's hospitalization while in Washington, D.C., left for New York, according to the Associated Press. The couple's daughter, Chelsea, was reported to have arrived at the hospital.
The insertion of stents is considered a relatively common procedure. It was a reminder of the health risks still facing the former president, who doctors said in 2004 could have suffered a major heart attack had his heart problems not been diagnosed in time.
Then, as in the latest incident, Clinton sought medical help after experiencing chest pains.
The quadruple bypass surgery, which was performed at the same hospital as Thursday's less invasive procedure, required doctors to surgically cut open Clinton's chest and reroute blood flow around his heart's blocked arteries.