WASHINGTON – Former President Bill Clinton (search) maintained his Tuesday schedule, including a trip to the White House to brief President Bush about Indian Ocean tsunami (search) efforts, but his future plans may be curtailed as he is due to check into the hospital Thursday for surgery.
Clinton, who had quadruple bypass surgery in September, is undergoing a medical procedure to remove fluid and scar tissue from the left side of his chest. He said the surgery is "no big deal"
"I felt well enough to go to Asia and compete with President Bush and we're going to play golf tomorrow," Clinton told reporters after meeting with the president and former President George H.W. Bush at the White House. The 18-hole golf game with pro golfer and Clinton friend Greg Norman is intended to raise money for tsunami relief.
"As soon as I get it done, I'm going to go back to work," Clinton said.
The first President Bush, who will also participate in Wednesday's game, said Clinton was like an "Energizer bunny" in Asia and showed no signs of being slowed by the ailment.
Earlier in the day as he arrived at the State Department to tape a public service announcement with the elder Bush, Clinton said he felt "great."
Clinton's office in New York said that the procedure is an "occasional consequence of open-heart surgery." The former president will check into New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center (search) and remain there for three to 10 days after the procedure, which is known as a decortication and requires general anesthesia.
His office also explained that the scar tissue developed as "a result of fluid and inflammation causing compression and collapse of the lower lobe of the left lung." The situation has caused Clinton discomfort, but he has otherwise been doing well, having recently passed a stress test, and he is walking up to four miles a day.
Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld and other observers told FOX News that the complication from surgery may be the result of leading too active a lifestyle after his Sept. 6 surgery. Since then, Clinton presided over the opening of his presidential library in Little Rock, Ark. In January, Bush named Clinton and Bush's father as goodwill envoys to the tsunami-ravaged region and heads of a public relations campaign to help raise private funds for the victims of the disaster.
"I predict he will make a complete recovery and return to his active lifestyle," Rosenfeld said, explaining that the procedure is minor surgery compared to the earlier bypass.
Upon hearing of the president's condition, the new head of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, himself a physician, expressed surprise but did not display overt concern.
"We certainly wish him well. It's disappointing but I know the president is a very fit man so I am sure he will do well," Dean told FOX News.
FOX News' Jim Mills and Sharon Kehnemui Liss contributed to this report.