Outgoing Rep. Dingell undergoes heart procedure


DETROIT (AP) — U.S. Rep. John Dingell has undergone a procedure to correct an abnormal heart rhythm.

Spokesman Christopher Schuler says the minimally invasive procedure was performed Thursday at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital.

Dingell recently developed atrial fibrillation. The procedure sought to find the source and correct it. Schuler referred questions on the procedure's success to the hospital. Messages have been left for a hospital representative.

Schuler says the 87-year-old Dearborn Democrat "is resting comfortably" and will be released from the hospital Friday.

Schuler says Dingell "plans to return to work as Congress reconvenes" March 24 and will have a light workload during the time in between.

Dingell said last month he will not seek re-election this year. He's the longest-serving congressman in history.

Dingell's wife, Debbie, is running for his Detroit-area seat.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

U.S. Rep. John Dingell, who recently announced he will end the longest congressional career in American history early next year, will undergo a procedure to correct an abnormal heart rhythm, his office announced Thursday.

The minimally invasive procedure will be performed Thursday at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, according to a statement from Dingell's office. It said Dingell, 87, recently developed atrial fibrillation, and that the procedure will seek to find the source and correct it.

The Dearborn Democrat is expected to stay in the hospital overnight and should be released Friday.

Spokesman Christopher Schuler told The Associated Press it is not an emergency procedure.

With atrial fibrillation, which affects millions of Americans, the upper chambers of the heart quiver or beat too fast or too slow. That allows blood to pool in a small pouch off one of the chambers. Clots can form in the pouch and travel to the brain, causing a stroke.

"Atrial fibrillation is probably the most common heart rhythm abnormality that we see," said Dr. Thomas Hill, a cardiologist who practices in Muskegon, Mich. "The older we get, the more common it becomes."

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, he 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, he 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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