George W. Bush: Clogged Arteries, Stents, and Cardiovascular Health

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George W. Bush's artery was badly clogged: A stent saved the day for our former President, but lifestyle changes might help you prevent the same concerns. Image by Helene C. Stikkel

George W. Bush’s artery was badly clogged: A stent saved the day for our former President, but lifestyle changes might help you prevent the same concerns. Image by Helene C. Stikkel

Doctors had to put a stent in former President George W. Bush’s heart this past August, due to having a clogged artery. Now, sources report that the blockage was more severe than anyone thought.

Bush’s arteries were more than 95 percent blocked, an authoritative source told the National Journal, who said: “With a blockage like that in a main artery you’re supposed to die. He was pretty lucky they caught it.”

Bush, who is 67 years old would most likely have had a heart attack, had they not caught the blockage in time.

Artery Blockage: How Your Circulatory System Works

In case you might have not been paying attention in anatomy and physiology, here is a little run down of the heart and arteries, and why this information is important to you now.

A healthy, adult heart is a strong muscle that is about the size of your clenched fist. The heart has four chambers, the upper two are atria (called the right and left atria) and the lower two are ventricles (called the right and left ventricle.) Some of the arteries and veins that supply the rest of your body with oxygen-rich blood are directly connected to your heart.

  • The largest artery is the aorta which is the main ‘pipeline’ that connects to the heart’s left ventricle. The aorta also branches out to other smaller arteries that go throughout the body.
  • The pulmonary arteries carry oxygen-poor blood from the heart to the lungs.
  • The coronary artery, which is located on the heart’s surface, carries oxygen-rich blood to your heart.

Your heart needs oxygen to survive, and when the coronary artery gets blocked with a fatty substance called plaque, it limits and can completely shut off oxygen to the heart. The buildup of plaque is called atherosclerosis. When oxygen cannot reach the heart, you have a cardiac arrest, or heart attack. Sometimes, doctors catch the blockage, atherosclerosis, before you have a heart attack, like in the case of George W. Bush, whose doctors conducted an angioplasty as a preventative measure.

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