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Barbara Bush rests comfortably after heart surgery

The former first lady has her aortic valve replaced in a 21/2-hour procedure, a family spokesman says. She is expected to make a full recovery.

March 05, 2009|Associated Press

HOUSTON — Former First Lady Barbara Bush underwent successful open heart surgery Wednesday to replace her aortic valve, a family spokesman said.

The surgery at the Methodist Hospital lasted about 2 1/2 hours and was scheduled last week after she experienced shortness of breath, spokesman Jim McGrath said.

Doctors determined the aortic valve had started to harden, McGrath said.

Dr. Gerald Lawrie, a surgeon at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, replaced the valve with a biologic valve, the hospital said.

"I expect her to recover fully and soon resume her normal activities," Lawrie said.

Former President George H.W. Bush was at the hospital with his wife, who was resting comfortably in the intensive care unit. The hospital said the former first lady, who is 83, was expected to be released in seven to 10 days.

"I am very impressed with and grateful to the wonderful team of doctors and nurses at the Methodist Hospital who have helped Barbara," the former president said. "We have every confidence she is in the best hands."

McGrath said she was already up and talking Wednesday night.

Barbara Bush is the mother of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

She underwent surgery in November for a perforated ulcer.

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