TULSA, Okla. -- Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is recovering in a Tulsa hospital after undergoing an emergency quadruple bypass last week.
The Republican senator, who turns 79 next month, said doctors discovered the massive blockage in his arteries during a routine medical screening. He flew home to Tulsa and underwent the emergency heart surgery Friday at St. John Medical Center, the Tulsa World reported.
Contact information ( * required )
"I went in for a routine colonoscopy that everyone gets and was sent to the hospital instead for open-heart surgery," Inhofe said Monday. "The doctors said, 'Your colon is perfect, but your heart is what we are worried about."'
Inhofe said he felt fine and never experienced any heart trouble or symptoms. Two of his arteries had 100 percent blockage, another was at 90 percent, and a fourth was 75 percent blocked, he said.
A vocal critic of President Barack Obama, Inhofe is seeking his fourth term in the U.S. Senate next year. When the government shut down Oct. 1, Inhofe blamed Democrats' and Obama's unwillingness to negotiate on a delay to parts of the health care overhaul.
Inhofe said he expects to return to Washington in a few days once doctors clear him to fly.
"I may miss some votes," Inhofe said. "(But) I encourage the Senate to pass a bill that will reopen the government while sticking with our conservative principles."