J. Scott Applewhite  /  AP
Fluid and scar tissue had reduced Clinton’s left lung capacity by 25 percent.
updated 3/14/2005 7:48:54 PM ET 2005-03-15T00:48:54

Former President Clinton left the hospital Monday, four days after undergoing surgery to remove scar tissue and fluid around his left lung.

“I’m glad to be home and look forward to getting back to work within the next month or so,” Clinton said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Jim Kennedy.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton accompanied her husband from the hospital to their home, where the 42nd president was to continue his recovery. A motorcade of five or six SUVs was seen leaving New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center shortly after 5 p.m.

Clinton’s recovery was proceeding normally, and he has begun walking each day, Kennedy said. He is expected to remain at home for the next four to six weeks.

Clinton, an avid sports fan who spent the day before his surgery last week golfing in Florida, “is also enjoying watching college basketball games as he continues his recuperation,” Kennedy said in an earlier statement.

The former president said he and his wife were “very grateful to the medical team that cared for me at the hospital, and we deeply appreciate all the prayers and good wishes we’ve received in recent days.”

Nearly 10,000 people have sent get-well messages to Clinton through his foundation’s Web site.

Clinton’s problem developed after his heart bypass surgery six months ago.

Doctors described last week’s operation as a low-risk procedure to relieve a problem that crops up in only a fraction of 1 percent of bypass cases. They said the combination of fluid and scar tissue had reduced Clinton’s left lung capacity by 25 percent.

Surgeons removed a rind of scar tissue nearly a third of an inch thick in some places.

The doctors had said Clinton would be hospitalized for three to 10 days.

The former president first noticed the problem when he suffered shortness of breath during his daily 4-mile walk near his home in Chappaqua, about 40 miles north of Manhattan.

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