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Blunt gets coronary stent implant; plans quick return to work

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 13, 2012 - WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., was recovering at home Friday after undergoing a coronary stent implant the previous day as an outpatient at George Washington University Hospital in the nation's capital. It was his first such procedure.

Blunt, 62, issued a statement saying that he "look[s] forward to returning to my regular schedule very soon." The senator, who had postponed several events in northwest Missouri earlier this week after first noticing symptoms, was scheduled to begin his duties in the Senate's fifth-ranking GOP leadership position next week.

Blunt had a grueling schedule last week, with appearances in 10 Missouri counties, and experienced difficulty with some activities, sources said. Wanting to be cautious, he scheduled a physical examination this week, and doctors "located a blockage in the front of the senator's heart," according to Blunt's office.

The statement said Blunt "underwent a routine and successful coronary stent implantation during an outpatient procedure" on Thursday and was home by that evening. He "plans to resume his normal schedule next week," the statement said.

"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," said Blunt in the statement.

"I'm very grateful for the care that I received from the medical professionals at George Washington University Hospital, and I look forward to returning to my regular schedule very soon."

On Tuesday afternoon, Blunt's office abruptly announced that his 14 planned appearances in St. Joseph and other towns in northwest Missouri from Wednesday to Friday had been "postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date." Rumors circulated then that he had experienced a health issue, but staff members declined to comment.

Rob Koenig is an award-winning journalist and author. He worked at the STL Beacon until 2013.