It is not unusual for someone who has undergone an angioplasty to continue to have problems with blocked coronary arteries.
"My understanding is that one of the bypass grafts had blocked and they opened up his own artery and put two stents in his own artery," said Dr. William O'Neill, a cardiologist and executive dean of clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
"This should really relieve his symptoms, and allow him to get back to pretty normal activity," he added. "He has less than a 5 percent chance of recurrence."
O'Neill noted that five to seven years after a bypass it is not unusual for these grafts to clog. "Ten years after bypass, almost half of the grafts are blocked," he said.
O'Neill also said that Clinton has had other complications from the bypass surgery that are fairly uncommon for most bypass patients, and caused him to undergo another operation in the months following the original surgery.
"Bypass grafts may become diseased months to years after an initially successful bypass grafting surgery," explained Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "The rate at which grafts may fail depends on the type of graft, size of the coronary artery it is joined with, cholesterol levels and other factors."
"The prognosis after stenting can be excellent, even when performed in a patient after bypass surgery," he said.
Clinton has been working in recent weeks to help relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Since leaving office in 2001, he has maintained a busy schedule working on humanitarian projects through his foundation.
To learn more about stents, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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