Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, underwent cardiac bypass surgery Tuesday, just days after his 82nd birthday. His wife, Carol, has told friends that he is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery. His location is not being made public, but the couple lives in Cincinnati.
Armstrong had a stress test Monday that revealed four blockages in the arteries leading to his heart. Surgeons performed the bypasses the next day. In a bypass operation, a blood vessel is removed from elsewhere in the body (typically a saphenous vein from the leg) and attached to the circulatory system to route blood around a blockage. The procedure usually takes three to seven hours, although a quadruple bypass like Armstrong’s might take a little longer. The patient typically spends a few days to a week recuperating in the hospital, and then four to six months more may be required for full recovery. Success rates are very high, normally more than 98%. More information is available here.
Armstrong was the commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, which landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. He and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin spent a total of about three hours walking on the moon. In a statement posted on Facebook, NASA administrator Charles Bolden wished Armstrong a quick recovery. “Neil’s pioneering spirit will surely serve him well in this challenging time, and the entire NASA Family is holding the Armstrong family in our thoughts and prayers,” he wrote.