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Cash Heart Surgery Goes Well, Doctor Says

December 19, 1988

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Country music star Johnny Cash underwent successful coronary bypass surgery Monday in the same hospital where his friend, Waylon Jennings, was hospitalized for a similar problem, doctors said.

″His surgery went fine,″ said Dr. Robert Hardin, who performed the operation on Cash with Dr. Kenneth H. Laws. ″There was no evidence of any damage to his heart.″

Hardin said that there was 90 percent blockage to the main coronary artery - ″a potentially very lethal sort of block.″ There was also blockage in another artery.

Alternative blood vessels were used to bypass the blocked arteries and restore normal blood flow to Cash’s heart during the 2 1/2 -hour surgery.

The procedure was ″pretty straightforward coronary artery bypass surgery″ to prevent the 56-year-old singer from having a heart attack, Hardin said.

After the surgery, Cash was in critical but stable condition in the coronary intensive care unit, a situation that is ″absolutely standard″ in such cases, said Baptist Hospital spokeswoman Debby Koch.

Ms. Koch said doctors have not said when Cash may be moved into a private room or when he may be released.

No discharge date has been set for Jennings either. He has sung with Cash on numerous occasions, and was also in Baptist Hospital on Monday after undergoing triple bypass surgery Dec. 12.

Jennings was moved from intensive care to a private room during the weekend, and doctors hope he will be home for Christmas, although Ms. Koch said that is not definite.

Jennings, 51, had been hospitalized for chest pains after a performance near Los Angeles in October. The chest pains returned earlier this month as Jennings left Nashville to drive to a performance in Bristol.

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