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Sen. Warner checks out of hospital

File photo of U.S. Sen. Warner listening to a testimony during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. Sen. John Warner Larry Downing / Reuters file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Sen. John Warner left the hospital Friday after medical procedures this week to correct an abnormal heartbeat.

The 80-year-old Republican, who announced Aug. 31 he would not seek a sixth term next year, told The Associated Press on Friday he was back in his office and felt fine.

“They went in, got it straightened out. It took two days of processing. They run wires up you and work the electrical circuits of the heart,” he said in a telephone interview.

Speaking in a strong voice, Warner said he’d had mild occurrences of atrial fibrillation over the years.

“When they occurred, the physicians said ‘Don’t worry about it. Quite a few people in Congress have it,”’ Warner said. It did not influence his decision to retire, he said.

The latest episode of arrhythmia came after a busy work day Monday that lasted long into the night.

“I got ramped up here with an awful lot of work,” he said, and on Tuesday morning, “it just sort of kicked up on me a little bit.”

While he underwent two days of procedures to correct the problem at Inova Fairfax Hospital, President Bush vetoed a $35 billion, 5-year expansion of a popular children’s health insurance program that Warner joined congressional Democrats in supporting.

Warner’s decision to retire opens a seat that Democrats believe they can win in next year’s elections. Democratic former Gov. Mark R. Warner, who is unrelated to the senator, has already announced his intent to run for the seat, while U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis and former Gov. Jim Gilmore are interested in seeking the GOP nomination.