Sen. James M. Inhofe is recovering in Tulsa, Okla., after doctors advised an emergency quadruple bypass surgery for five blocked arteries in his heart.
Oklahoma news outlets reported Tuesday that doctors discovered the 78-year-old Republican's heart problems after he went in for another procedure on Friday.
"I went in for a routine colonoscopy that everyone gets and was sent to the hospital instead for open-heart surgery," Inhofe told the Tulsa World. "The doctors said, 'Your colon is perfect, but your heart is what we are worried about.'"
According to the The Oklahoman, two of Inhofe's arteries were completely blocked and two had 90 percent blockage. A fifth artery was 75 percent blocked.
It was not clear when Inhofe would be able to return to D.C. for the continuing debate over the government shutdown and the looming deadline to hike the debt limit.
Inhofe told the Tulsa World he would likely miss some votes, but said, "I encourage the Senate to pass a bill that will reopen the government while sticking with our conservative principles."
Inhofe is expected to run for a fourth term in 2014.