PM’s heart surgery successful, will be ‘fully active’ within six weeks (Roundup)

January 25th, 2009 - 12:59 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underwent a successful marathon surgery here Saturday, during which doctors made five bypasses around blockages in his heart. He was in the intensive care unit (ICU) and was conscious by the night, and would be “fully active” within six weeks, his doctors said.”The prime minister is conscious, responding, and healthy,” K. Srinath Reddy, chairman of the prime minister’s medical panel, told reporters after the 11-hour surgery. “He has been moved to the ICU of the cardio-thoracic centre. He will stay in the ICU for three days and in hospital for seven-eight days.”

The surgery that was “successfully concluded”, according to Reddy, started at 8.45 a.m. Saturday. Manmohan Singh had been wheeled into operation theatre - 5 of the state-run premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences at 7.45 a.m.

The team of surgeons led by Ramakant Panda, head of the Mumbai-based Asian Heart Institute, used the “beating heart” technique during the surgery on the 76-year-old prime minister was that was considered “less risky”, according to AIIMS Medical Superintendent D.K. Sharma.

The surgery was completed at 7.33 p.m. and Manmohan Singh was wheeled into the ICU at 8.55 p.m. Asked by a host of reporters who had been camping outside AIIMS the whole day why the procedure took so long, Panda said: “When we are saving a life, we don’t look at the clock”.

The 11-member team of surgeons, anaesthetists and physicians were under the overall guidance of the head of AIIMS Cardio Vascular and Thoracic Centre Sampath Kumar.

Manmohan Singh had undergone a bypass surgery earlier in 1990 and an angioplasty in 2004. Panda explained that a repeat surgery always takes longer. “There were five blockages.” He also said the grafts were taken from the prime minister’s inner chest, left hand and left leg and expressed the confidence that these bypasses would “last his lifetime”.

Asked how long the prime minister would convalesce, Panda said: “He should be able to resume some official duties in two weeks, most in four weeks and be fully active and functional in six weeks or even before”.

When asked whether the redo-bypass surgery would restrict the movement of the prime minister, Reddy said : “Why restricted? We have removed five blockages. We expect him to be more active now.”

“The prime minister made himself ready for the surgery now to make himself available well before the elections. The prime minister was taking all care. Therefore (his) diabetes was in control and BP (blood pressure) was in control. We expect that the prime minister will be able to attend to some of his official duties by two weeks and most of his duties by four weeks and he will be fully functional in six weeks,” he added.

Manmohan Singh was discharged from AIIMS Thursday following an angiography Wednesday, but was re-admitted Friday after he felt uneasy at his 7, Race Course Road residence in the morning.

Tests over two days revealed that the 76-year-old Singh, who became prime minister in May 2004 heading a Congress-led government, had multiple arterial blockages and needed to undergo the “coronary artery bypass graft surgery”.

Reddy said the need for the surgery was felt when the prime minister had come for “diagnostic angiography” on Wednesday as blockages were found in coronary arteries.

“For better long-term results surgery was a better option. Three days were given for the effect of the blood-thickening drugs to wear off. Given the number of blockages waiting would have been inadvisable,” he said.

He said that the prime minister has “long-standing diabetes; this is one causal factor for the coronary heart disease.”

The doctors repeatedly said they expected the prime minister to recover quickly because he led a disciplined life. Manmohan Singh keeps himself fit doing yoga, is conscious of his diet and packs a punishing 18-hour work schedule.

While the operation was on relatives of the prime minister offered prayers in gurudwaras in Punjab and in Kolkata as he underwent the operation.

“We offered prayers at the Golden Temple for his speedy recovery. We are now heading for Delhi to be with his family,” said Surjit Singh Kohli, half-brother of the prime minister.

Prayers were also conducted in churches, schools and other places in the country.

Since the prime minister will take a few weeks to fully recover, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who stepped in for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for certain duties. received visiting Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Mukherjee has taken on the prime minister’s protocol duties and also holds additional charge of the finance ministry.

This will also be the first time that a prime minister will skip the Republic Day celebrations. Defence Minister A.K. Antony will stand in for Manmohan Singh for the ceremonies.

Antony will lead the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, Monday morning, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

Meanwhile the Congress party clarified that there would not be any change in the leadership on account of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s bypass surgery.

“There cannot be two prime ministers and under the constitution, there can only be one prime minister,” said Congress general secretary Verappa Moily.

Asked if the party was contemplating any change in leadership, Moily said: “The question is irrelevant”.

Moily showed his confidence in the leadership of Manmohan Singh and said that the prime minister would resume his duties in two weeks.

“He is a man of strong will power. I am confident that he will be back to his duty within two weeks and would come back with more energy,” Moily said.

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