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Blunt gets coronary stent

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Gage Skidmore | Flickr
Mo. Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is recovering after doctors at George Washington University successfully implanted a coronary stent on Thursday.

Updated 10:30 a.m.

Updated 4 p.m. with comments from local cardiologist and correcting canceled to postponed.

Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt says he's looking "forward to returning to [his] regular schedule very soon" after having a coronary stent implanted on Thursday.

The Senator's office says Blunt scheduled a check-up after experienced shortness of breath during a 10-county tour of Missouri last week.  Some of the events were postponed.  Physicians at George Washington University performed the stent procedure on Thursday, and Blunt hopes to resume a normal schedule next week.

"I continue to be a strong believer in the life-saving importance of early detection, and I encourage everyone to be proactive about their preventive screenings," Blunt said in a statement. "I'm very grateful for the care that I received from the medical professionals at George Washington University Hospital."

Dr. John Lasala, the director of interventional caardiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, shared that opinion.

"If you've got some sort of family history, you should be screened very, very carefully," Dr. Lasala said. "If you have other risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and particularly if you're a smoker, those add and compound the probability that you may have some sort of blockages in the arteries, and need to be followed very carefully."

This is Blunt's first heart-related surgery. In 2002, he had a kidney removed that had a cancerous tumor. In 2003, Blunt had his prostate removed after detecting the early stages of cancer.

Lasala says Blunt will likely remain on aspirin for the rest of his life to reduce the risk of clots forming around the stent, which props open a blocked artery. And he says Blunt may nede additional stents implanted in the future.

"All of our interventions to try and minimize the risk factors are there to slow it down, hopefully to truncate it completely," he said, "but since we now know he has the [heart] disease process yes, he would be more prone to have it again."

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.