Cleveland Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential candidate, underwent an experimental procedure Wednesday to treat an aneurysm in his aorta, the body's main blood vessel.
Dole, 77, was recovering at the Cleveland Clinic after the treatment for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, said Kenneth Ouriel, one of three surgeons on the team that inserted the stent graft. His wife, Elizabeth, was with him.
"He maintained his sense of humor throughout his care," said Ouriel, chairman of vascular surgery.
Dole is expected to be released by the end of the week and will be able to resume normal activities within 10 days. The former senator was in satisfactory condition and "tolerated the procedure very well," Ouriel said.
An aneurysm is a bulge on a blood vessel. When it occurs in the nearly inch-thick aorta descending from the heart, it can burst and kill nearly instantly. Dole's was small enough that it wasn't in danger of bursting.
The former Senate majority leader from Kansas was lucky his aneurysm was diagnosed during an exam for another condition two or three years ago, Ouriel said.
Doctors watched Dole's aneurysm until it grew worse. Earlier this month, doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said he should have it treated.
Traditional treatment involves a major abdominal incision. The experimental device used on Dole is used in 15 U.S. research centers and is awaiting government approval.
Dole's doctor's inserted a Y-shaped tube inside the weakened portion of the aorta. The aneurysm eventually will contract around the stent.