Politics

Sen. Boozman to Have Follow-Up Heart Surgery

Change in August recess delayed operation

Sen. John Boozman underwent emergency heart surgery in 2014 to fix a torn aorta. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John Boozman was scheduled to have a follow-up heart operation during the first week of August. That all changed when the Senate pushed back the start of August recess.

Now the Arkansas Republican is set to have the procedure in northern Virginia Tuesday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Boozman underwent emergency heart surgery in April 2014 after experiencing arm and chest pain. He was rushed to an Arkansas hospital where doctors found a tear in his ascending aorta.

Following the nine-hour surgery, Boozman was unable to return to the Senate for six weeks.

This time around, Boozman said the surgery is just a “tweak,” that will result in three to five days in the hospital followed by a “couple of week of really taking it easy.”

The senior senator from Arkansas is having the surgery after 18 months of encouragement from doctors to do the procedure. The Tuesday operation is three weeks before the Senate returns to the Capitol.

“It’s a good time to do it, and then I should be blowing and going,” Boozman told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “We’re going to have a really busy September, I believe, when we come back.”

Boozman shared a note on social media about his upcoming surgery.

The surgery will be performed by an aorta-dissection specialist, Boozman said. Roughly 30 percent of patients who undergo aortic dissection surgery, as he did in 2014, eventually need a follow-up procedure, he said.

On the topic of healthcare, Boozman said he is looking at the system “totally different” in light of his situation.

The senator said his 2014 operation “illustrates the importance of community hospitals.” He stressed that if he had to travel to reach a hospital, he “probably wouldn’t have made it.”

Boozman said Congress should stabilize the nation’s healthcare system until a larger solution is reached.

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