Bill Clinton to Undergo Heart Surgery in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former President Bill Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital on Friday for heart bypass surgery, a statement from his office said.

“Former President Bill Clinton is being admitted into New York Presbyterian Hospital today and is scheduled to have bypass surgery,” the statement said.

No time frame for the surgery was given.

The 58-year-old former president, a Democrat who served two terms from 1993 to 2001, had gone to Northern Westchester Hospital on Thursday afternoon after experiencing mild chest pain and shortness of breath, his office said.

Initial testing was normal and he spent the night at home in nearby Chappaqua, New York. After additional testing on Friday morning at Westchester Medical Center, doctors advised Clinton should undergo bypass surgery, it said.

Clinton’s wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was traveling in upstate New York on Friday, and his daughter, Chelsea, were to be with him for the operation.

Before heading back to Manhattan, Mrs. Clinton said doctors advised her husband to do the surgery “as soon as he could.”

ABC News reported Clinton was found to have multiple lesions and other television reports said he would undergo a quadruple bypass.

CNN quoted a source close to the former president as saying the surgery could take place as early as Saturday.

Clinton, the 42nd U.S. president, promised at the Democratic National Convention in July to be a “foot soldier” in Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s race against Republican President Bush. He received a rousing welcome from delegates after being introduced by his wife, a Democrat representing New York.

Kerry, campaigning in Ohio, sent Clinton “our best wishes, our prayers, our thoughts” and asked supporters to give Clinton a cheer he would hear “all the way to New York.”

In West Allis, Wisconsin, President Bush said, “We send him our best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery.”

White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said Bush was informed about Clinton’s condition by White House staff while on Air Force One.

Clinton, who had a reputation for having a big appetite and for fighting a weight problem, showed no signs of heart problems during rigorous health examinations that were made public during his presidency.

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