Sen. John Boozman suffered ‘acute aortic dissection’


Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), left, speaking at a recent Washington Post Live forum in Washington. (Washington Post Live)

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) remains in an Arkansas hospital where he is recovering from emergency heart surgery.

Multiple local news reports, citing unnamed sources, said the 63-year old senator was diagnosed Tuesday with an aortic aneurysm, or a bulge or "ballooning" in the walls of an artery. He underwent emergency heart surgery Tuesday morning.

Boozman's office on Wednesday described the ailment as "an acute aortic dissection."

The senator’s office clarified that Boozman was originally transported to the hospital by his wife, Cathy, and not by ambulance, as had been previously reported. It said he is awake and responsive and that he's focused on his recovery.

The family said doctors "are amazed at how well he has responded and we are anxious for him to begin the next phase of recovery. We know that if John had it his way he would be right back on the road in Arkansas, so the difficult part will be making sure he gets the rest he needs to get better.”

Boozman is an optometrist by training and established the low vision program at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock. He's also raised Polled Hereford cattle that were competitive in the show ring, as well as in bull testing at Oklahoma State University, according to his official biography.

A former five-term House lawmaker, Boozman has served as Arkansas's junior senator since defeating Democrat Blanche Lincoln in 2010.

This post has been updated. Aaron Blake contributed to it.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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