Former President Jimmy Carter teaches during Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church, Sunday Dec. 13, 2015. 

Photo: Brandon Camp/AJC
Photo: Brandon Camp/AJC

Jimmy Carter, former president, out of surgery, resting

Doctors relieve pressure on his brain from recent falls

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was recovering Tuesday after undergoing surgery in Atlanta to relieve pressure on his brain from a subdural hematoma.

There were no complications from the procedure early Tuesday at Emory University Hospital but Carter “will remain in the hospital as long as advisable for observation,” according to Deanna Congileo, a Carter Center spokeswoman. 

Carter was admitted into Emory Monday after doctors discovered the hematoma, which occurs when a blood vessel near the brain bursts and blood builds up between the brain and its tough outer lining.

It is typically caused by head injuries.

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Carter has been hospitalized three times since October and four times this year with injuries ranging from a broken hip to a fractured pelvis.

When Carter was admitted to the hospital on Monday, Congileo noted that the bleeding was “due to his recent falls.” 

One of those falls happened on Oct. 6, when he tripped and bumped his head at his Plains home. He suffered a black eye and required 14 stitches. 

Congileo said that the Carter Center would not comment further on the former president’s condition until he is released from the hospital. 

“President and Mrs. Carter thank everyone for the many well-wishes they have received,” Congileo added in a statement. 

Bleeding and increased pressure on the brain from a subdural hematoma can be life-threatening. Depending on the severity, treatment can range from waiting to surgery. Symptoms can include severe headaches, weakness on one side of the body, seizures, and change in vision or speech.

RELATED: Carter returns to teach Sunday school

Former President Jimmy Carter speaks during the Habitat for Humanity Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project opening ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Nashville. Carter had a black eye and stitches after falling at his Georgia home, but made it to the evening program in Nashville. (Courtney Pedroza/The Tennessean via AP)
Photo: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

According to a study by the Harvard Medical School, bleeding in young, healthy people is usually triggered by a significant impact, like a car accident. But in older people, minor trauma, like falling out of a chair, can result in hemorrhaging. 

Carter, who turned 95 on Oct. 1, has lived longer than any other U.S. president. Despite several accidents this year, he has remained active. 

Five days after his birthday, after he tripped and bumped his head, he still made it to a concert in Tennessee the same night to rally volunteers ahead of his 36th home-building project for Habitat for Humanity. 

He spoke his usual 40 minutes during his Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains on Nov. 3 after fracturing his pelvis on Oct 21. 

Carter also fell and broke his hip in May, while he was getting ready to go turkey hunting.

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