The Associated Press
JUNEAU (April 10, 12:00 p.m. ADT) - Gov. Frank Murkowski underwent surgery Wednesday night in Anchorage to open a blocked heart artery.
Press Secretary John Manly said doctors at Providence Alaska Medical Center performed angioplasty, a procedure to open the flow of blood through an artery. The procedure helps restore normal blood flow to the heart. A stent was inserted to keep the walls of the blood vessel open.
Manly said the governor was alert after the 20-minute procedure and rested comfortably through the night. He did not know when the governor would be out of the hospital.
Hospital spokeswoman Karina Jennings said Murkowski was in good condition Thursday morning.
Murkowski, 70, was flown to Anchorage, arriving about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, after first seeking medical help at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau.
His chief of staff, Jim Clark, issued a news release about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, saying the governor was flying to Anchorage for routine medical tests. Clark said the governor was dehydrated after several days of travel throughout Alaska.
He said doctors in Juneau found nothing wrong with him, but referred him to Providence "just to be safe." Clark was not available for further questions Wednesday.
Manly said he was not told until 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, after the procedure was over, that the governor's illness was more serious.
"The governor did have something a little more wrong with him than just being dehydrated last night," Manly said at a 9:30 a.m. news conference Thursday.
The governor has been on a low-carbohydrate diet, made famous by its promoter Dr. Robert Atkins, since early March. He said last week that he had lost 14 pounds since he began the diet.