Heart Expert Sees 'Good Prognosis' For Bill Clinton Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized with heart trouble. Doctors in New York performed a coronary procedure on the 42nd president after he felt chest pains. Stuart Seides, associate director of cardiology at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C., explains the procedure to NPR's Michele Norris. He says, given the circumstances, Clinton's prognosis looks good.
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Heart Expert Sees 'Good Prognosis' For Bill Clinton

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Heart Expert Sees 'Good Prognosis' For Bill Clinton

Heart Expert Sees 'Good Prognosis' For Bill Clinton

Heart Expert Sees 'Good Prognosis' For Bill Clinton

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Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized with heart trouble. Doctors in New York performed a coronary procedure on the 42nd president after he felt chest pains. Stuart Seides, associate director of cardiology at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C., explains the procedure to NPR's Michele Norris. He says, given the circumstances, Clinton's prognosis looks good.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Im Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And Im Michele Norris.

Earlier today, former president, Bill Clinton, was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest. Cardiologist Allan Schwartz just held a news conference outside of the hospital. He said Mr. Clinton reported chest discomfort earlier today.

Dr. ALLAN SCHWARTZ (Cardiologist): It was decided to admit him to the hospital and perform angiography. His initial tests: electrocardiogram and blood tests showed no evidence of heart attack. Again, I repeat, he did not have a heart attack or any damage to his heart.

NORRIS: Dr. Schwarz says the one hour long procedure went smoothly and that Mr. Clinton will leave the hospital tomorrow.

For more now, we're joined by Dr. Stuart Seides. He's the associate director of cardiology at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. Doctor, welcome to the program. Tell us more about the procedure that President Clinton had today, an angiography.

Dr. STUART SEIDES (Associate Director of Cardiology, Washington Hospital Center): Well, his doctors decided based on his symptoms that they were very suspicious for cardiac related pain, what's often called anginopactorrus(ph). And he was referred for angiography, which is a procedure where a catheter, a small plastic cube is threaded up through one of the arteries, usually the femoral artery in the groin. And contrast material or dye is placed in the bypass grafts, in his case, and in the native coronary arteries to assess current anatomy and see what the culprit might be in precipitating these symptoms.

And based on what Dr. Schwartz said in his news conference, it sounded like one of the bypass grafts that had been placed surgically in 2004 had (unintelligible). And so a procedure was done where the native coronary artery, that is, the coronary artery that was originally bypassed, was opened up. And two stents, which are expandable metal scaffolds were placed in that artery to keep the blockage propped open and restore blood flow.

NORRIS: Dr. Schwartz said it did not appear that President Clinton had a heart attack, but the president has had a history of heart problems. Does that make this episode more worrisome?

Dr. SEIDES: Not really. A heart attack occurs when there is a clusion(ph) or blockage in an artery and damage to the heart muscle tissue occurs. And to my knowledge, President Clinton had that neither in 2004 at the time of his presentation nor today. So his heart muscle is presumably sound and that's a good thing and is predictive of a good prognosis.

One can postulate that had the process that started today, or for that matter, back in 2004, been allowed to go to its natural conclusion, that damage might have occurred and today's procedure presumably stopped that process and leaves him with his heart muscle intact, which is a good thing.

NORRIS: Doctor, thank you very much. That's Dr. Stuart Seides, the associate director of cardiology at the Washington Hospital Center.

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