HOUSTON (AP) – Former first lady Barbara Bush underwent successful open heart surgery Wednesday to replace her aortic valve, a family spokesman said.

The surgery at The Methodist Hospital lasted about 2½ hours and was scheduled last week after Bush experienced a shortness of breath, spokesman Jim McGrath said.

He said doctors determined the aortic valve had started to harden.

Dr. Gerald Lawrie, a heart surgeon at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, replaced the valve with a biologic valve, the hospital said in a statement.

“I expect her to recover fully and soon resume her normal activities,” Lawrie said.

Former President George H.W. Bush was at the hospital with his wife, who was resting comfortably in the intensive care unit. The hospital said the former first lady wass expected to be released in seven to 10 days.

“I am very impressed with and grateful to the wonderful team of doctors and nurses at The Methodist Hospital who have helped Barbara,” the former president said. “We have every confidence she is in the best hands.”

McGrath said Mrs. Bush was already up and talking Wednesday night.

Houston television station KRTK reported that Mrs. Bush almost didn’t want her children to know because she didn’t think it was a big deal. Bush is the mother of former President George W. Bush and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Barbara Bush underwent surgery in November for a perforated ulcer. The hospital said the two were unrelated.

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