Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has stent placed in heart artery
WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who vowed this year to stay on the Supreme Court as long as she could go “full steam,” announced Wednesday that she had undergone a “coronary catheterization procedure” to place a stent in her right coronary artery.
Ginsburg, 81, was said to be resting comfortably in MedStar Washington Hospital Center and was expected to be discharged within 48 hours.
A statement issued by the court said a “coronary blockage was discovered after Ginsburg experienced discomfort during routine exercise last night.”
Ginsburg is the senior liberal on the closely divided court, and her health and longevity have become a topic of concern on the political left as President Obama heads into the final two years of his term.
Ginsburg was treated for colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009, but she bounced back from both and did not miss any time when the high court was in session.
A stent is a small mesh tube that can be inserted into an artery through the groin or through the wrist. It is then inflated at the spot of a blockage.
“It restores the blood flow and prevents injury to the heart muscle,” said Dr. Daniel Edmundowicz, chief of cardiology at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. “But it would also mean she now has an increased risk for a heart attack down the road.”
Medical experts say stents are an effective and noninvasive means of treating a blockage.