Want to ask George W. Bush a question about his stent…or anything else? Click here!
Six months ago, former President Bush received an angioplasty and stent. The stent was recommended by Bush’s doctors to open a blockage in one of his coronary arteries, found during his annual physical exam. EKG changes were seen on his stress test, a CT angiogram was performed and a blockage seen. He was rushed off to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas where Dr. Tony Das performed a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI, a.k.a. angioplasty). A single stent was inserted in the newly opened vessel.
The next week saw numerous articles in the mainstream media and professional publications questioning whether this stent was necessary. Doctors and journalists chimed in that the way in which this decision was made was not in keeping with the Appropriate Use Criteria, established by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, etc. Why wasn’t medical therapy tried first? Why was he given a stress test and a CT angiogram in the first place? Wasn’t Bush setting a poor example for the rest of the patient population? Just when the issue of unnecessary stenting was being discussed, here a former President goes and has an urgent stent placement…and was it necessary?
I wrote about this the day of his angioplasty. And my general conclusion to the question of “Was This Stent Necessary” was…we don’t know. We just didn’t have the information to know whether this was a rush to intervention or not.
Within a couple weeks, the interventional cardiologist who performed Bush’s angioplasty spoke with the American Heart Association and his interview was posted on their blog. While not addressing President Bush’s situation directly (he couldn’t due to privacy issues), Dr. Tony Das stated that someone who had the same clinical presentation as Bush should have been given a stress test. He did not, however, go on to discuss the stent itself.
Dr. Das is a very well-respected interventionalist. He is the co-founder of a major medical meeting, the annual VIVA symposium (Vascular Interventional Advances) now in its 11th year. One would think that, given the extremely high-profile of a procedure done on a former President, Dr. Das would need to be very confident in his decision, knowing the scrutiny he would be subjected to.
Nevertheless, it still remains a bit of a question as to why Bush needed to get a stent in such a rapid fashion.
So…at this year’s CRT 2014 meeting, held annually in Washington, D.C., Dr. Ron Waksman and the rest of the organizers have arranged for George W. Bush to be a featured speaker. And they have been emailing all potential attendees with the subject line, “Submit a Question for President Bush!”
So, should you have any questions about his stent, feel free to submit a question. And since the organizers haven’t restricted the questions to being only about his stent, I suppose you could ask him about anything else…whether he’ll answer is another question.