Former President Bill Clinton undergoes heart procedure

Former President Bill Clinton, who is 63, was hospitalized in New York City today for chest pains.

Clinton was rushed to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. ABC News’ chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos reported that sources said he was taken to the hospital “likely for a stent procedure.”

Clinton’s wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was seen this afternoon leaving the Oval Office and did not seem “too concerned” or “in a rush."The secretary is scheduled to begin a five-day trip to the Middle East tomorrow. She flew to New York City immediately this afternoon.

Clinton, who has suffered from overweight often in his life, lost considerable poundage after his previous heart problem. The pain could come from a partial blockage of an artery and the stents would reopen the passage. He is expected to stay in the hospital an undetermined time.

According to a statement released by Douglas Band, a counselor to the ex-president, Clinton had two stents implanted::

Today President Bill Clinton was admitted to the Columbia Campus of New York Presbyterian Hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest.

Following a visit to his cardiologist, he underwent a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries. President Clinton is in good spirits, and will continue to focus on the work of his Foundation and Haiti’s relief and long-term recovery efforts.

In 2004, President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries.

The ex-president has a condition of heart disease requiring loss of weight and more attention to his diet, but has maintained a vigorous globe-girdling schedule. And was just in Haiti last week.

The stent, basically a wire mesh tube-shape, is inserted in the groin and moved up the artery to the blockage, then expanded to open blood flow through the accumulated plaque. It has become a common procedure in the United States, probably about a million per year, and Clinton would be likely to spend at least one day and probably a few in the hospital to prevent re-closure.

-- Andrew Malcolm