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Arnold Schwarzenegger stable and awake after emergency open-heart surgery, rep says

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Arnold Schwarzenegger spokesman confirms he is in stable condition after undergoing emergency open-heart surgery.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is in stable condition after undergoing emergency open-heart surgery, his spokesman Daniel Ketchell confirmed via Twitter Friday afternoon.

Half an hour later, Ketchell offered an update, noting that the actor and former California governor was awake. “His first words were actually, ‘I’m back,’ so he’s in good spirits,” he reported.

TMZ, the first outlet to report the story, said the 70-year-old was at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for a catheter valve replacement. When the experimental procedure resulted in complications, doctors decided to open him up.

Ketchell confirmed their account in his statement, noting, “Yesterday, Gov. Schwarzenegger underwent a planned procedure at Cedars-Sinai to replace a pulmonic valve that was originally replaced due to a congenital heart defect in 1997,” he explained in a statement. “That 1997 replacement valve was never meant to be permanent and has outlived his life expectancy, so he chose to replace it yesterday through a less-invasive catheter valve replacement.” 

He continued “During that procedure, an open heart surgery team was prepared, as they frequently are in these circumstances, in case the catheter procedure was unable to be performed. Gov. Schwarzenegger’s pulmonic valve was successfully replaced and he is currently recovering from the surgery and is in stable condition. We want to thank the entire medical team for their tireless efforts.”

Schwarzenegger’s children and ex-wife Maria Shriver have not spoken publicly about his condition; Cedars-Sinai, as per federal law, would not comment. 


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This was Schwarzenegger’s fourth cardiac surgery, though only two were intentional.

When he was 50, Schwarzenegger had an aortic valve replaced to repair a congenital condition. That 1997 operation, too, produced complications, requiring another emergency procedure.

“I was very scared,” he told Barbara Walters in that year’s 10 Most Fascinating People special. “I could have died… All of a sudden, in the middle of the night, I started getting less and less air and I have problems breathing.”

Schwarzenegger told Walters that the 1997 ordeal had ended well. “I feel great now, much more energetic today than I did before the operation.”

Upon hearing the news, Sebastian Kurz, the chancellor of Schwarzenegger’s native Austria, wished him a speedy recovery via Twitter and said he looked forward to seeing him in Vienna next month.

Actor Robert Patrick, whose upgraded Terminator battled Schwarzenegger’s older model in 1991’s T2: Judgment Day, also sent well wishes.

“T-800 @Schwarzenegger, recharge quickly,” signing his tweet, T-1000.”

Schwarzenegger started out as a champion bodybuilder, then became a movie star in The Terminator films, and then got elected governor of California as a Republican in 2003.

More recently, he replaced Donald Trump, after he was elected president, as the host of the NBC’s reality show, The New Celebrity Apprentice, which led to some public feuding on Twitter between the two over the show’s low ratings. 

Schwarzenegger tweeted a joke proposal that he and Trump exchange jobs “so that people can finally sleep comfortably again.” In March 2017, Schwarzenegger announced that he would not return to the show. In a tweet, Trump claimed Schwarzenegger was fired.

He has continued to advocate on issues such as the environment and legislative gerrymandering, traveling to Washington last October to demonstrate outside the Supreme Court when it heard a case involving redistricting in Wisconsin.


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