Marine Corps commandant undergoes open heart surgery

Marine Corps commandant undergoes open heart surgery

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Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith on Monday underwent open heart surgery to repair a defect valve that caused his heart attack in late October, the Marine Corps announced. 

Smith had successful surgery at an unnamed hospital “to repair a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart, which was the cause of his cardiac arrest on Oct. 29,” according to a Marine Corps statement.  

“He is in good condition and continues to recover at the hospital among family members and his doctors. Following his rehabilitation, Gen. Smith will return to full duty status as Commandant,” the statement adds. 

Smith suffered a heart attack and collapsed during a run in October. He was quickly taken to a hospital where doctors discovered his bicuspid aortic valve, a heart abnormality people are born with and one that can cause heart problems later in life. 

Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Gen. Christopher Mahoney has stepped in to perform Smith’s duties during his rehabilitation. 

“General Smith and his family are focused on his rehabilitation and appreciate everyone’s continued respect for their privacy ahead of his full recovery,” according to the Marines. 

News of Smith’s surgery comes as the Pentagon’s top official, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, has come under fire for failing to disclose to the White House or the public an elective medical procedure he underwent Dec. 22. That was followed by an ongoing hospitalization since Jan. 1 that left many senior administration officials in the dark for several days.  

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