The 70-year-old actor checked into Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, California, for a scheduled catheter valve replacement procedure. However, the less invasive procedure could not be performed and Schwarzenegger had to undergo open-heart surgery, instead.
Schwarzenegger is in stable condition and his first words after awaking from surgery were, "I'm back," according to his spokesman, Daniel Ketchell.
Ketchell further explained the status of the actor-turned-politician's health, noting that doctors went in to replace the pulmonic valve from a 1997 procedure that was put there due to a congenital heart defect.
"That 1997 replacement valve was never meant to be permanent, and has outlived its life expectancy, so he chose to replace it yesterday through a less-invasive catheter valve replacement,” Ketchell said in a statement shared on Twitter.
"During that a procedure, an open-heart surgery team was prepared, as they frequently are in these circumstances, in case the catheter procedure was unable to be performed,” he added. “Governor Schwarzenegger’s pulmonic valve was successfully replaced."
In a 2016 interview on In Depth With Graham Bensinger, Schwarzenegger opened up about the heart problems that run in his family, and recalled his fear upon undergoing his earlier life-threatening surgery.
The Terminator star told Bensinger that the first time they tried to replace his valves, "the surgery failed" and the doctors had to do it again. "Now it gets very dangerous," Schwarzenegger explained. "To do two surgeries within 24 hours like that is like ...first they tell you there's a six percent chance you wipe out and now that doubles."
He added, "It was a wild situation to be in, but being on the amount of drugs you're on at that point, you really don't care."
"Luckily it all went well," he noted. "I still have the same valves."