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Presidential Treatment:
Dr. Craig Smith Performs Bypass on Former President Bill Clinton

Craig R. Smith, MD
Craig R. Smith, MD

New York, NY (September 10, 2004) — On September 6, 2004, Craig R. Smith, MD, FACS, Calvin F. Barber Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center (NYPH/CUMC), performed a successful quadruple bypass procedure on Former President Bill Clinton. Clinton was discharged from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center on Friday, September 10, 2004 and has returned to his home in Chappaqua, where he is with his family and continuing to recuperate.

Surgeons use bypass procedures, or coronary artery bypass grafts (CABGs), to create new sources of blood for areas of the heart served by blocked arteries. According to Smith, the blockages in some of Clinton's arteries were "well over 90 percent," placing the 58-year-old Former President at a high risk for a major heart attack. Fortunately, Clinton had not experienced any substantial damage to his heart muscle prior to his surgery. Dr. Allan Schwartz, Chief of Cardiology, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, is Clinton's cardiologist throughout his hospitalization.

During the four-hour operation, Smith used blood vessels taken from Clinton's chest wall and leg to bypass the blockages and restore an adequate flow of blood to the heart muscle. For just over one hour of the procedure, Clinton was placed on a heart-lung machine, which maintained the flow of oxygen and blood throughout his body while the new vessels were connected.

"We are delighted to report that President Clinton's surgery was successful and we expect for him to make a full recovery," said Eric A. Rose, MD, Morris and Rose Milstein, Johnson & Johnson Professor of Surgery and Chairman, Department of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, and Surgeon-in-Chief, NYPH/CUMC.

"I want to congratulate our superb cardiothoracic surgical team of physicians, physician assistants, and nurses led by Dr. Craig Smith, Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery," Rose continued. "I know that our entire department, along with Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, is proud of their work and of the successful result in President Clinton's coronary artery bypass graft surgery."

Once released from the hospital, Clinton will undergo several weeks of rehabilitation. By adopting a diet low in saturated fat and salt, as well as a healthy exercise routine, Clinton can help to prevent new blockages from forming.

NYPH/CUMC's open-heart surgery program consistently performs more than 1,500 open-heart procedures annually. In most subspecialties, the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery stands alone in the region and among the best in the world.

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