By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Sen. George Voinovich will have a pacemaker installed Friday to fix a slowing heart.
The 66-year-old Ohio Republican is the second member of the Tristate delegation to have heart-related surgery this year. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, underwent a triple bypass in January. He has recovered.
Voinovich has been diagnosed with sinus bradycardia - a slowing heart rate, according to a statement from Voinovich's office. The pacemaker will help his heart maintain a normal beat.
"It's not a big deal," said Cynthia Tracy, chief of cardiology at Georgetown University Medical Center. The procedure is done under local anesthetic, using a small incision near the shoulder, she said.
"It's a small procedure with a low chance of problems," she said.
Voinovich's 60- to 90-minute procedure will be performed by Dr. Helen Barold at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The senator expects to spend the night in the hospital and the weekend at his apartment in Washington, then return to a full schedule on Monday, according to his statement.
"The senator has a healthy heart with normal function," Barold said in the statement. "Although he has felt well, the pacemaker will ensure that he maintains a normal heart rate and remains symptom free."
Voinovich, a former Cleveland mayor and Ohio governor, is up for re-election next year - possibly against talk-show host and former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer.
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