Barrett underwent angioplasty to unblock two blood vessels

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett underwent an angioplasty on Monday, December 9th to unblock two blood vessels.

Barrett was hospitalized on Sunday after taking part in a 20-kilometer run at the Pettit National Ice Center on his 60th birthday.

Barrett’s spokesman says the Mayor planned to run 60 minutes on his birthday, but it snowed. So the Barrett headed over to the Pettit Center to run. The Pettit Center was closed to the public for the Badgerland Striders 20K run — and Barrett decided to sign up.

The Mayor's spokesperson says after the race, Barrett was feeling okay. However, after sitting down a few moments later, Barrett blacked out -- prompting paramedics to be called. He was initially treated for exhaustion.

According to the Mayor's spokesperson, Barrett was taken straight to the Wisconsin Heart Hospital. Doctors were running tests on Barrett when they discovered the blockage of two blood vessels in his heart. Barrett came through the procedure without any complications.

Dr. David Engle of Wheaton Franciscan Elmbrook Memorial wasn't involved in the Mayor's care, but has done thousands of similar procedures.

He describes an angioplasty as a process of using a wire about the width of a human hair to thread a balloon and mesh tube, known as a stent to the clogged area.

"We run a tube from the leg or the hand up to the heart, blow up the balloon, expand the stint. It will hold the artery open and it gets ride of the blockage entirely," Dr. Engle said.

Barrett was released from the hospital on Tuesday. He briefly returned to his office before heading home. Barrett was back at work on Wednesday.

Barrett is now taking medication to lower his blood pressure. He is expected to take a couple of weeks off from jogging to allow his body to rest and recover. The Mayor's spokesperson stressed that Barrett did not suffer a heart attack.

Common Council President Willie Hines says the Mayor spoke in a committee meeting on Wednesday and spent about half the day in City Hall.

"He's doing great. He looked very good," Hines said.

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