Hospital sends Barbara Bush home

March 13, 2009 10:37:11 AM PDT
Former first lady Barbara Bush was discharged Friday from a Houston hospital nine days after surgery to replace an aortic valve. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Dr. Gerald Lawrie, who headed the team at Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center that replaced the valve with one from a pig, said Mrs. Bush, 83, would have her activities restricted for at least another three weeks but then could return to normal.

"Mrs. Bush was a remarkable patient," he said. "Her recovery was very quick for this type of procedure. I expect her to be back to normal soon and resume her active life."

Mrs. Bush left the hospital Friday morning accompanied by former President George H.W. Bush, her husband of 64 years.

Doctors termed Mrs. Bush's condition, a severe narrowing of the main heart valve, as common in people of her age. The surgery March 4 took about 2 1/2 hours.

Lawrie said the heart problem was detected after she experienced shortness of breath and had some congestion in her lungs.

Mrs. Bush is the mother of George W. Bush, the 43rd president, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The other Bush children are sons Neil and Marvin and daughter Dorothy. Another daughter, Robin, died in 1953 of leukemia a few weeks before her 4th birthday.

Mrs. Bush underwent surgery in November for a perforated ulcer. Lawrie said the two ailments were unrelated but that the ulcer surgery potentially was more severe.

Mrs. Bush disclosed she was suffering from an overactive thyroid ailment known as Graves' disease when she lived at the White House. That disease causes teary eyes and double vision.

Her husband acknowledged last week he'd been a "nervous wreck" about the surgery and described it as one of the more stressful experiences of his life.

The former Barbara Pierce is the daughter of the former publisher of McCall's magazine.

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