By DAVID A. LIEB
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was recovering Friday after undergoing surgery to have a coronary stent implanted.
Blunt, 62, underwent "a routine and successful" outpatient medical procedure Thursday at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., his office said Friday.
The Republican senator had experienced shortness of breath from activities that would not normally cause him to be winded while on a 10-county tour in Missouri last week, said Blunt spokeswoman Amber Marchand. She said doctors discovered a blockage at the front of the senator's heart during an examination Tuesday.
Blunt had been scheduled to travel to 14 northern Missouri communities from Wednesday through Friday, holding what his office had billed as public "roundtable discussions" with "local leaders and job creators." The events were canceled Tuesday without any explanation offered at the time.
Blunt said he hopes to return to a normal work schedule next week.
"I continue to be a strong believer in the life-saving importance of early detection, and I encourage everyone to be proactive about their preventive screenings," Blunt said in a written statement.
The senator's office said this was Blunt's first heart-related surgery. Marchand said that in July 2002, Blunt's left kidney was removed after a cancerous tumor was discovered. In July 2003, Blunt's prostate was removed after he was diagnosed with early stages of cancer, she said. Blunt was a member of the U.S. House at the time of both of those medical procedures.
Blunt won election to the Senate in 2010 and recently was chosen by his Republican colleagues as vice chairman of the Senate GOP conference, the fifth-most senior position in the party's caucus.