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"This kind of disease is progressive. It's not a one-time event so it really points out the need for constant surveillance," he said.
About 1 million artery-opening angioplasty procedures are done each year in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 patients who have one have previously had a bypass operation, said Dr. Ralph Brindis, a cardiologist at California-based Kaiser Permanente health plan and incoming president of the cardiology college.
"On average, a bypass operation lasts 10 years," Brindis said. "He's a little early for having a problem, but not that early."
Clinton also in the past has partly blamed his heart problems on genetics. There is a history of heart disease in his mother's family. He also has admitted being careless about his diet, has had high blood pressure and before his bypass, had stopped taking a cholesterol-lowering drug he'd been prescribed.
Schwartz emphasized how much of that had changed. Clinton's "numbers" were all good, he said. But heart disease "is a chronic condition. We don't have a cure for this condition, but we have excellent treatments."
On the Net:
American Heart Association: http://www.americanheart.org/
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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