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Kennedy Surgery "Successful"

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) will miss about a week of work as he recuperates in Boston from today's "routine" and "preventative" surgery to unblock an artery in his neck, doctors and aides said this afternoon.

The surgery, performed at Massachusetts General Hospital, came after a routine checkup performed earlier this week on his back, something that's been of medical concern ever since a 1964 plane crash the senator survived.

"The surgery was routine, uneventful and successful," Dr. Richard Cambria, the hospital's chief of vascular surgery, told reporters in a conference call this afternoon.

Kennedy, 75, who recently cast his 15,000th vote on the Senate floor, is the third longest serving senator in history.

To emphasize how normal and fine the senator was feeling, Cambria and other doctors and aides on the call informed reporters about a host of Kennedy details:

• he was eating ice cream and drinking ginger ale today after lunch;
• he swims every day;
• home this week for a week-long Senate recess, he went sailing yesterday;
• He plans to watch the entire Game 1 of the American League Championship Series tonight between the Cleveland Indians and his beloved Boston Red Sox. (Kennedy's office co-ed softball team wears mock Red Sox uniforms except the team name is "Ted Sox.")

Still, in a chamber so narrowly divided, any senator's health can be a topic of major concern. In Kennedy's case, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick would appoint a successor should his health deteriorate, causing him to step down. Kennedy just won re-election last year to his 8th full term, having won the seat in 1962 to fill out the remainder of his brother's term after John Kennedy became president. A Kennedy departure would mark the first open Senate race since 1984.

While doctors said the blocked artery was a common health problem, they said the surgery was performed because it was at least 70 percent blocked, declining to specify precisely the percentage. "This was a very high-grade blockage," Cambria said.

A small incision was made in Kennedy's neck, removing the blockage. And doctors acknowledged that they regularly monitor Kennedy's blood pressure and cholesterol levels, pushing him to continue his recent weight loss. "He has to watch his waistline, like the rest of us," said Dr. Larry Ronan, who added, "His overall health is excellent."

Doctors, who declined repeated requests from the Boston media to delve into specific details about other health issues, said they would not have performed the surgery if he had other heart issues that made him a high-risk patient for complications during surgery.

One thing they said could not prevent: him watching the Red Sox, no matter how stressful the series gets. "That's one of the recommendations that is unlikely to be made," Cambria said, "because of the unlikelihood it will be followed."

By Paul Kane  |  October 12, 2007; 4:21 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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He has to watch his waste line, like the rest of us," said Dr. Larry Ronan, who added, "His overall health is excellent."

"WASTE" line?

Was that a joke or just an improper printing of a homonym?
It should be "waist" line.

Posted by: Justin | October 12, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for catching that stupid mistake of mine, it has been corrected.

Posted by: PK | October 12, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Eating ice cream????

No wonder why he's got plaque in his arteries!

Try some sorbet, you fat slob.

Posted by: Washington Dame | October 12, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

What goes around , comes around. Mary Jo, we feel your pain.

Posted by: yojoe | October 14, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

That's right, what goes around comes around. There is a special place in HELL for this anti-American slob. What the hell, they kill Bobby and John but leave us with this piece of sh!t! I hope he gets a staff infection and DIES!!!!! Ted Kennedy is a trader and has cursed his family name to the third generation. Have you seen the recent pics of him at the beach. He is pushing 300lbs! SLOB! He is getting fat from raping our country!

Posted by: BJE500 | October 14, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

it's a staph infection. if you're going to wish death on someone, at least do it correctly.

Posted by: rg | October 15, 2007 6:45 AM | Report abuse

I's a trivial comment, but is "preventative" a necessary word? What's wrong with "preventive."
Carotid surgery is for disease-arteriosclerotic narrowing of the lumen of the carotid artery. It may be prevent a stroke. In that sense it is preventive, but it is not preventive of the disease that caused the narrowing.
Possible causes for the arteriosclerosis are high cholesterol, diabetes (caused often by obesity), high blood pressure (made worse by alcohol).
Lots of bad things happen to the Kennedy's.

Posted by: Donald W. Bales | October 15, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Donald, preventative and preventive are synonyms, so they can be interchanged.

Posted by: AM | October 15, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

May I also remind BJE500 that not only did he incorrectly spell "staph" infection, he seems to have trouble finding his dictionary. He referred to Ted Kennedy as a "trader", but intended to label him as a "traitor". Those who don't bother to spell correctly, often appear to be uneducated. Buy a dictionary and use it!

Posted by: MNRiley | October 15, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Well the man has done great good and he has maintained the backing of his constituents...I pray for good things for him and the Kennedy family....JFK and RFK were a great loss to our country!

They may have had wealthm but they fought for the middle class and poor! I Salute Ted and thank the Lord he seems to have come out of this in a postive way!

Posted by: Starbuck | October 16, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

When JFK was killed, I shouted whoopee they killed that holier than thou SOB.

When RFK was killed, I bemoaned the fact that they would probably blame it on the availability of guns.

Now that Ted Kennedy has escaped justice once again. All I can say is two out of three ain't bad. There's always the future.

Posted by: Gyro Tyro | October 17, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Re: comments that minorities do not become elderly. They die first. Black men die before collecting their Social Security at a very high rate. Black females live longer. High blood pressure and rage in black males contributes to their early deaths. Plus the black fatty diet clogs up their arteries.Obama is off target complaining about Mr. Tanner. Obama needs to attack the Hillary monster before he disappears below the waves.

Posted by: mascmen7 | October 25, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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