Bill Clinton leaves NYC hospital

Peres wishes former US president "a quick, full recovery" from heart procedure.

Former US President Bill Clinton has left the Manhattan hospitalwhere he underwent a heart procedure, a close friend said Friday.

FormerDemocratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe said on CBS'"The Early Show" that Clinton had left New York Presbyterian Hospital.Clinton lives in Chappaqua, a hamlet about 55 kilometersnorth of New York City.

"He's out of the hospital and in the car back en route to his home," McAuliffe told the morning news program. "Andif I know President Clinton, he'll be on the phone ... calling peopleasking for more help for Haiti and where he can get pickup trucks sothey can deliver food or generators. If I know Bill Clinton, he'll beraring to go in about 35 minutes."

Clinton could be back at work as soon as Monday, cardiologist Allan Schwartz said previously.

Clinton,63, had quadruple bypass surgery at the same hospital more than fiveyears ago, and returned Thursday to have a clogged heart artery openedafter suffering discomfort in his chest.

Earlier Friday, President Shimon Peres sent Clinton a letter wishing him a quick and full recovery in the wake of the surgery.
"Your well-being is precious to us all and may you be back to your regular intensive activities in no time," Peres wrote. "We shall pray for a man that all of us need and admire."
Two stents resemblingtiny mesh scaffolds were placed inside the artery as part of a medicalprocedure that is common for people with severe heart disease.

Schwartz said tests had showed that one of the bypasses from the surgery was completely blocked.

Insteadof trying to open the blocked bypass, doctors reopened one of hisoriginal blocked arteries and inserted the two stents. The proceduretook about an hour, and Clinton was able to get up two hours later,Schwartz said.

There was no sign the former president hadsuffered a heart attack, and the new blockage was not a result of hisdiet, Schwartz said.

"The procedure went very smoothly," Schwartz said, describing Clinton's prognosis as excellent.

US Secretaryof State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled from Washington to New York tobe with her husband. She left the hospital about 11:30 p.m. (0430 GMT)without speaking to reporters.

Aides to Mrs. Clinton said shestill planned to go ahead with a previously scheduled trip to thePersian Gulf. The trip was to begin Friday afternoon, but now she isplanning to leave Saturday so that she does not have to rush back toWashington.

Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, was also with him at the hospital.

Inan angioplasty, the procedure Clinton had on Thursday, doctors thread atube through a blood vessel in the groin to a blocked artery andinflate a balloon to flatten the clog. Often, one or more stents areused to prop the artery open.

The angioplasty is usually donewith the patient awake but sedated. It's one of the most common medicalprocedures done worldwide. More than a million angioplasties are donein the United States each year, most involving stents.

"It's notunexpected" for Clinton to need another procedure years after hisbypass, said Dr. Clyde Yancy, cardiologist at Baylor University MedicalCenter in Dallas and president of the American Heart Association.

Thesections of blood vessels used to create detours around the originalblockages tend to develop clogs five to 10 years after a bypass, Yancyexplained. New blockages also can develop in new areas.

"Thiskind of disease is progressive. It's not a one-time event so it reallypoints out the need for constant surveillance" and treating riskfactors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, he said.

Theformer president has been working in recent weeks to help reliefefforts in Haiti. Since leaving office, he has maintained a busyschedule working on humanitarian projects through his foundation.

McAuliffe said Clinton participated in a conference call on earthquake relief as he was being wheeled into an operating room.

Clinton'sreputation as an unhealthy eater was sealed in 1992, when the newlyminted presidential candidate took reporters on jogs to McDonald's. Hewas famously spoofed on "Saturday Night Live" as a gluttonousMcDonald's customer.

Friends and family say Clinton changed his eating habits for the better after his bypass surgery.