Category Archives: Celebrity Patients

From Bench to Bedside to Bench Revisited: Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Back in Action

  Almost two decades ago, interventional cardiology pioneer Dr. Spencer B. King III penned an article for Circulation titled, “Angioplasty From Bench to Bedside to Bench.” Dr. King’s article was a recounting of the history of the development of the angioplasty balloon catheter by his colleague at Emory University, Andreas Gruentzig.

This morning, the title of his article took on new meaning, as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg entered the courtroom and took her seat, engaging in several complex legal arguments concerning mortgage loan officers, Facebook threats, and more. Continue reading

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Filed under Celebrity Patients, History, Media Coverage, Stent

Ask George W. Bush a Question About His Stent…or Anything Else

Ask Bush a QuestionWant 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. Continue reading


Filed under Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC), Celebrity Patients, Media Coverage, Meetings & Conferences, Stent

George W. Bush Gets Angioplasty and Stent – Was It Necessary?

George W BushFormer President George W. Bush received an angioplasty and stent this morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. The stent was recommended by Bush’s doctors to open a blockage in one of his coronary arteries, found yesterday during what was described by Bush spokesman Freddy Ford as his annual physical exam at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Continue reading


Filed under Angiograms, Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC), Cardiac CT, Celebrity Patients, COURAGE, Drug-Eluting Stents, FFR, Imaging, Media Coverage, Non-Invasive Testing, Optimal Medical Therapy, Stent

Jerry “The King” Lawler Has Heart Attack (on the air) and Stents (not on the air)

Jerry Lawler

Jerry Lawler, announcing during a match in 2007 (courtesy Mshake3)

Jerry “The King’ Lawler, semi-retired professional wrestler, holder of 168 championships (reportedly) and commentator for WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” collapsed on September 10, during a live broadcast in Montreal, Canada.

62-year-old Lawler was having a heart attack.

EMTs performed CPR and defibrillated him (seven times, it is reported). He was revived and rushed to a Montreal hospital where he received an angioplasty with two stents. Continue reading

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Filed under Celebrity Patients, Heart Attack, Stent, Video

Lasorda Released from Hospital

Tommy Lasorda, photo by Phil Konstantin

Tommy Lasorda, photo by Phil Konstantin

So here we are in 2012!

It’s been almost 35 years since the first coronary angioplasty was performed in Zurich, Switzerland, and now we have an 84-year-old baseball icon, who had a heart attack, was treated with angioplasty and a stent, and is released from the hospital after less than 72 hours. And what does he “Tweet“? Continue reading

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What We Can Learn from Tommy Lasorda’s “Mild” Heart Attack

Tommy Lasorda, photo by Phil Konstantin

Tommy Lasorda, photo by Phil Konstantin

Before he was Hall of Fame manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda was a scout and coach for the team. And part of his duties was to teach the rookies. So, in that tradition, there is a lesson in Tommy’s latest health scare: if you think you may be having a heart attack, get to the hospital ASAP, preferably a hospital that performs emergency angioplasty. Continue reading

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Clinton and Eisenhower: Presidents, Hearts, Stents and 55 Years

 It’s a holiday concurrence: Valentine’s Day and President’s Day and American Heart Month — and former President Bill Clinton who got his heart fixed six years ago and just got a “tune-up”, is already back home. He was having discomfort, so yesterday morning he saw his cardiologist, he was wheeled into the cath lab — an hour later he had two stents opening up one of his original coronary arteries (not one of the bypass grafts which had closed completely) and this morning, less than 24 hours later, he was at home in Chappaqua and no doubt already on the phone and back to work. His prognosis: excellent — this incident should not affect or hinder him in any way.

Whatever your take on comparative effectiveness research, whether too many stents are used, etc., you have to admit it’s pretty amazing. The advances made in diagnosis, bypass surgery and interventional catheter-based techniques have revolutionized the treatment of coronary artery disease. Especially when you look back at how this illness used to be treated (or not).

Dr. William O'Neill

Dr. William O’Neill

Dr. William W. O’Neill, Professor & Executive Dean for Clinical Affairs, University of Miami, Division of Cardiology has a favorite lecture that he gives on this topic. He goes back to 1955 and describes how then President Eisenhower’s chest pains were first diagnosed as gastric upset and finally almost a day later an EKG showed he was in the midst of a massive heart attack. But there was nothing any doctor could do then, except give Ike morphine for the pain. The heart attack had to play itself out, Ike’s heart muscle was damaged and he was in the hospital for 7 weeks. He didn’t return to work for 3 months. (for you young folk, our Vice President at the time was Richard Nixon!). Ike did continue as President and, in fact, was re-elected to a second term (after all, he was THE hero of WWII). But without question, his ability to lead a fully active life was significantly compromised and ultimately, in 1967, he succumbed to heart disease.

The take-away from Bill Clinton’s episode is that even though his quadruple bypass surgery was successful, the natural history of coronary artery disease is that it will progress. Surgery, angioplasty, stents, medicine — none of these are cures, but they are interventions in this progression. Along with the medications, exercise, diet and smoking cessation, the natural history can be slowed down. Clinton, having experienced this pain previously, knew it was significant and did precisely the right thing: he saw his cardiologist.

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George W BushUpdated February 15, 2015: The above post from 2010 was written, of course, just after Bill Clinton received his stents. Since then, George W. Bush has also benefited from this technology, as well as Supreme Court Justices Kennedy and Ginsberg, Dick Cheney, and no doubt quite a few Senators and Representatives.

Updated June 12, 2018: Since this post, Dr. O’Neill has moved from Miami and is now the Director of the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He can be found on Twitter as @BillONeillMD.

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Filed under Celebrity Patients, Heart Attack, History, Stent