Clinton could return home today

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February 12, 2010, 6:54 am
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(NECN/ABC) - UPDATE: Former President Bill Clinton left New York Presbyterian Hospital on Friday, just one day after having minor heart surgery.

Six years after a quadruple bypass, Mr. Clinton had chest pains that sent him back to the hospital. Clinton, the UN's Special Envoy to Haiti, just returned from his second trip to the earthquake damaged country.

"He's in great spirits and on his way to a speedy recovery," Steven Barnes, director of communications for the William J. Clinton Foundation, said.

Cardiologists placed two stents -- tiny mesh tubes -- into a clogged artery to open it up. 

"Over the past several days, he had been having episodes of chest discomfort that were brief in nature, but because they were repetitive, he contacted me and came in," Dr. Alan Schwartz said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to New York, after meeting with President Obama, to be with her husband and daughter Chelsea. The secretary's departure for the Middle East, scheduled for Friday, has been postponed until at least Saturday -- even though the procedure was declared a success. 

"If a stent is placed, he had a severe and potentially life-threatening problme," Dr. David Pearle of Georgetown University Hospital said.  "But if everything goes as it usually does, he is substantially better today and probably will be going home tomorrow or within the next few days."

In 2004, Clinton had bypass surgery that involved four blocked arteries. Then in 2005, scar tissue that had developed since the bypass was removed.

Still, he threw himself into charity work, including HIV initiatives. And with former President George W. Bush, he led the effort to re-build Haiti.

In an interview in 2008, Clinton said the bypass surgery inspired him to continue to advocate on behalf of others. 

"You have to live in the moment," Mr. Clinton said in 2008.  "You can't make yesterday again.  You have to live in the moment and go forward."

President Obama called his predecessor to wish him a speedy recovery. Doctors say Clinton could be back in the office on Monday.

ABC's Viviana Hurtado reports in the video player above.

Tags: Bill Clinton, stent
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