Ben Cayetano has been hospitalized for a serious heart condition resulting from high blood pressure.
The 79-year-old former governor was rushed by ambulance Monday to Straub Medical Center after “severe tightness in the chest.”
Doctors found a tear in his lower aorta, the large blood vessel that transports blood from the heart to the rest of the body, according to his wife, Vicky.
The condition, known as aortic dissection, can be fatal if not treated right away.
“It is life threatening. What’s good is that he got care right away,” she said. “They immediately put in the medications to reduce the pressure on the heart. He got there in time. I have a brother, he didn’t make it and he had the same condition.”
Cayetano was not ill beforehand and doctors have decided not to do surgery because in this case “there’s more risk to that.” He was transferred out of the intensive care unit Thursday, but doesn’t know how long he will be hospitalized, she said.
“He is better, which is how he was able to get transferred out of ICU so we’re very thankful for that, but he just needs to get his rest and they continue to monitor him closely,” Vicky said.
Over time, high blood pressure can negatively affect the arteries.
High blood pressure can be controlled through medication, as well as diet and exercise.