Former president Bill Clinton yesterday was "resting comfortably as he continues to recuperate" from coronary artery bypass surgery performed on Monday, a spokesman at his charitable foundation said.
The breathing tube inserted into his lungs before surgery had been removed, and Clinton was talking with his wife and daughter in the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He was described as "awake and alert."
No further details about his condition were given in the three-sentence statement, and the hospital did not make any member of his treatment team available for interviews.
The 58-year-old former president was admitted to the hospital Friday after experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. Tests revealed four sites of extreme narrowing in branches of all three coronary arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the beating heart muscle.
In the operation, two arteries that normally supply blood to the inside of the chest wall were used to supply blood to the arteries downstream from the narrowings. A vein from his leg was removed and used for the same purpose.
Clinton's post-surgery hospital stay is expected to be about five days.
Although plans for his outpatient care have not been revealed, many people undertake cardiac rehabilitation after bypass surgery in the same way that people who have undergone orthopedic procedures such as joint replacement do physical therapy.
Cardiac rehabilitation consists of a supervised exercise regimen of increasing intensity; counseling on diet and, if applicable, smoking cessation; education about cardiac drugs and future activity; and, in some programs, advice on stress reduction.
Optimal drug treatment after bypass surgery generally consists of aspirin, which decreases blood clotting; beta blockers, which help protect the heart from fatal rhythm disturbances, among other things; statins, which lower cholesterol and may also stabilize the thickened walls of the coronary arteries; and ACE inhibitors, which lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.
By one year after surgery, about 80 percent of people who want to work are doing so. A similar percentage report no limitations on their social life, sex life or recreational activities.