Meredith Land, NBC 5 News
Former President George W. Bush received a stent this summer and now we're learning that his artery blockage was more severe than previously reported.
The heart problem experienced by former President George W. Bush over the summer was more serious than previously reported.
Bush received a stent to unclog a severely blocked artery, but NBC News confirmed a report in the National Journal that reveals Bush was "very lucky" doctors caught the potentially life-threatening blockage when they did.
The 95-percent blockage in Bush's coronary artery was discovered during a routine physical exam at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas in August, just after his 67th birthday.
Bush had no previous history of heart trouble.
The news is surprising to people who joined Bush on a 62-mile bike race in the Texas heat at his ranch in Crawford this past Memorial Day weekend.
"I was shocked, because he's 10 years older than I am and on a three-hour mountain bike ride he left me in the dust; and I'm in pretty good shape," said former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon, who rode with Bush in the bike race.
Since the procedure, Bush hasn't skipped a beat, playing in his third annual Warrior Open Golf Tournament just two weeks ago in Irving.
The stent procedure is a fairly common one with about one million people having stents inserted worldwide each year.
Bush left the hospital after an overnight stay and encouraged everyone to get regular check-ups.
"He is grateful to the skilled medical professionals who have cared for him," Bush spokesman Freddy Ford said in August. "He thanks his family, friends, and fellow citizens for their prayers and well wishes. And he encourages us all to get our regular check-ups."
Report compiled from NBCNews.com, the National Journal and previous reports from NBCDFW.com and the Associated Press.