Mike Pence 'Expected to Fully Recover' After Successful Heart Surgery to Install Pacemaker

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Sean Neumann
·3 min read
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SAUL LOEB/Getty Images Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence had successful heart surgery on Wednesday to install a pacemaker to steady his heart rhythm.

"He is expected to fully recover and return to normal activity in the coming days," his office said in a statement on Thursday.

Pence, 61, had the procedure at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus in Falls Church, Virginia.

Before he took office alongside President Donald Trump in 2017, the former Indiana governor revealed he has an asymptomatic left bundle branch block in his heart.

Over the past two weeks, his office said, he was experiencing a slow heart rate and went to the doctor, who advised him to undergo the procedure.

"I am grateful for the swift professionalism and care of the outstanding doctors, nurses and staff at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute," Pence said via the statement, thanking his doctors.

"My family has been truly blessed by the work of these dedicated healthcare professionals," he added.

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Michael Conroy/AP/Shutterstock From left: former Vice President Mike Pence and former Second Lady Karen Pence arriving back in his hometown of Columbus, Indiana, in January

Pence is widely being eyed as a potential presidential contender in 2024, following four tumultuous years with Donald Trump.

The former vice president announced earlier this month he was writing an autobiography about "the many pivotal moments of the administration," which is expected to be released in 2023.

Before coming into conflict with Trump, 74, amid the deadly U.S. Capitol riot in January — as Trump assailed Pence for refusing to overturn the November election — Pence tirelessly defended the president throughout their administration.

Pence recently told a group of Republican lawmakers he still maintains a "friendship" with Trump, according to Rep. Jim Banks. This despite Trump publicly criticizing Pence for not voiding his election defeat, something which Pence did not have the authority to do.

On Jan. 6, the president gave an angry speech criticizing Pence, who was set to preside over a joint session of Congress, and then Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol, where they descended into mob violence and ransacked the building. Some chanted "Hang Mike Pence!"

Pence and his family needed to be rushed to safety.

RELATED: Mike Pence Opens Post-White House Office and Announces New Roles in Conservative Politics

After leaving office later that month, Pence flew back to Indiana where sources told PEOPLE he and his wife, former Second Lady Karen Pence, were expected to buy a home later this summer.

In recent months, Pence has started working as a columnist for the conservative news site The Daily Signal and joined the Young America's Foundation as a "Ronald Reagan Presidential Scholar." He plans to host lectures at the conservative foundation's Virginia campus and record video podcasts for the group.

"It's a very popular parlor game in Indiana politics to guess what his next role will be," one Indiana GOP source told PEOPLE earlier this year. "But it's nearly unanimous out here that regardless of what his next move is, the world is his oyster."