Politics

Outgoing Rep. Dingell undergoes heart procedure

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. Rep. John Dingell, who recently announced he will end the longest congressional career in American history early next year, underwent a procedure Thursday to correct an abnormal heart rhythm, the hospital said.

The minimally invasive procedure was performed at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. "Congressman Dingell is in good spirits, resting comfortably and is expected to be released from Henry Ford Friday," the hospital said in a statement.

Dingell spokesman Christopher Schuler said the Dearborn Democrat "plans to return to work as Congress reconvenes" March 24 and will have a light workload during the time in between. Dingell, 87, will continue on a medication regimen of blood thinners and arrhythmia medications, said the hospital, which added that he was being treated for a condition known as atrial flutter.

Atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation are related heart disorders in which the organ's upper chambers beat rapidly and ineffectively. Dr. Claudio Schuger, director of electrophysiology at Henry Ford, performed the procedure in the hospital's cardiac catheterization lab.

"With today's advances in medicine, patients with atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation have many treatment options from which to choose, including medication and non-surgical procedures," Schuger said in a statement.

Dingell announced last month that he will not run for re-election this year, making way for his wife, Debbie, to seek his Detroit-area seat. Following the sudden death of his father in 1955, John Dingell, then a 29-year-old attorney, won a special election to succeed him.

In June, Dingell broke the record for the longest serving member of Congress held by the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, but his congressional experience goes back even further than his 1955 electoral win. As a congressional page in 1941, Dingell watched firsthand as President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on Congress to declare war on Japan in his "Day of Infamy" address.

Born in Colorado Springs, Colo., Dingell grew up in Michigan, where his father was elected to Congress as a "New Deal" Democrat in 1932.

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