Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Saturday, 13 February 2010

Bill Clinton 'keen to work' after heart operation

Bill Clinton, 12 February 2010

Former US President Bill Clinton is keen to get back to work on the Haiti relief effort after undergoing a heart procedure at a Manhattan hospital.

He said he was doing "very well" after the procedure at New York Presbyterian Hospital, in which doctors inserted two stents to clear a clogged artery.

The former president, 63, had quadruple bypass surgery at the same hospital more than five years ago.

He was re-admitted on Thursday after complaining of discomfort in his chest.

He said he had felt "a little bit of tingling, not pain" four days ago and "I thought I ought to check it out."

Keen to return to work, Mr Clinton issued a statement calling for a continued relief efforts on the one-month anniversary of the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and left more than a million homeless.

Loving his work

After returning to his home north of New York on Friday, Mr Clinton told reporters: "I'm doing very well. I feel very blessed. I was fortunate that, you know, I kind of had a feeling about it."

Mark Mardell
The networks did something of a body swerve and changed the coverage into a lesson about healthy hearts and lifestyle rather than a look back at a career

Praising his surgeons, the former president said: "It's miraculous what they do with the stents, they just go in and go out - I didn't take any sedatives so I was alert and I got to watch it all on the monitor."

The stents - wire-mesh tubes that help the flow of blood - were placed in a coronary artery that had become blocked since Mr Clinton had a quadruple-bypass operation in 2004.

Mr Clinton - whose daughter Chelsea and wife, Secretary of State Hillary, had visited him in hospital after the procedure - said he had been advised not to lift heavy weights for a week and to avoid jogging.


Bill Clinton leaves hospital in New York after undergoing a heart procedure

"I just have to be more careful about what I eat and take my medicine; I have to work harder to carve out days for exercise and I have to sleep more," said Mr Clinton, who was president from 1993 to 2001 and is currently the UN's special envoy to Haiti.

"I have a different view of this to most people. My father died in a car wreck when he was not 30... You have to go all the way back to my great grandfather to find a relative who lived as long as I already have.

"So for me every day's a gift and I believe that life has to be lived - I love this work I do."

Better habits

Since leaving office in January 2001, Mr Clinton has maintained a punishing routine.

1. Guided into place by a catheter, the stent is a wire mesh tube used to hold open narrow arteries
2. Once in position, the catheter is inflated and the stent expanded
3. The catheter is removed, and the stent remains in place to help keep blood flowing through the artery

In recent weeks, he has made two trips to Haiti to help the relief effort in the wake of the devastating earthquake there on 12 January.

Friends describe him as unstoppable.

"If I know Bill Clinton, he'll be raring to go in about 35 minutes," former Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe said on CBS TV's Early Show.

"He'll be on the phone... calling people asking for more help for Haiti and where he can get pickup trucks so they can deliver food or generators," he added.

The former Arkansas governor became known for his love of fast food and jogging during his two terms as president.

After his 2004 operation, friends and family say he improved his eating habits.

In addition to his work in Haiti, he heads the William J Clinton Foundation to promote and address international humanitarian issues such as the treatment and prevention of HIV/Aids and global warming.

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES Bill Clinton leaves hospital after surgery - 47 hrs ago Bill watched heart surgery - 51 hrs ago Bill Clinton leaves N.Y. hospital after heart procedure - 54 hrs ago
Sydney Morning Herald Heart surgery was 'miraculous': Clinton - 54 hrs ago Heart surgery miraculous, says Clinton - 56 hrs ago

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