Sen. Durbin On Recent Heart Procedure

CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is recovering after undergoing a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat Tuesday.

The 72-year-old senior senator seemed hale and healthy when CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley spoke with him Monday at the May Day protest in Union Park. But according to his staff, Durbin was having an examination at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Tuesday morning when the doctor noticed Durbin’s heart was showing a flutter, described as a common abnormal heat rhythm.

A procedure known as a catheter ablation was chosen, which is a low-risk outpatient procedure where “the catheter emits a pulse of painless radio frequency energy,” destroying the abnormal heart tissue and correcting the irregular heart beat.

“It’s a non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure that can cure this rhythm problem,” said Dr. Kousik Krishnan, a cardiologist at Rush University Medical Center. “The atrial flutter, the palpitations and the racing heart would be one clue that your heart is not in normal rhythm anymore. It’s a condition that occurs as people get older, so that’s not something that’s in their control.”

The Senator called the episode “a heart tune-up,” and said he anticipates it will give his “classic roadster many more miles of reliable service,” in his official statement.

And the downstate democrat couldn’t resist taking a shot at republicans, saying, “My Congressional colleagues who want to cut funding for medical research and take away health insurance for millions of Americans should remember that all of us are only one diagnosis away from needing the best care for ourselves and the people we love.”

Durbin left the hospital and plans to remain in Illinois for the rest of the week.

Late Tuesday afternoon, he took to Twitter to thank “the wonderful team” at Northwestern Memorial.

Durbin has been in Congress for 35 years, and all signs suggest he’ll be there for the long haul.

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