Former Canadian PM still recovering after heart surgery

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Photo taken in June 2000.

Jean Chrétien, one of Canada's former prime ministers, received quadruple heart bypass surgery yesterday at Montreal's Heart Institute.

"I just talked to him a few minutes ago. He's well and he's recuperating very well at the moment. His outcome is excellent," said Chief of surgery, Dr. Michel Pellerin.

He could have risked his life as he was diagnosed with unstable angina. It is caused by obstructed arteries, which causes heart pain in a person's body.

Pellerin performed the surgery on Chrétien, 73, early Wednesday morning. It took 73-minutes to 90-minutes.

However, hospital doctors say Chrétien is expected to stay in the hospital for up to seven days, and it could take up to three months for a full recovery.

Chrétien was at the recent Presidents Cup at the Royal Montreal Golf Club, when he asked another golfer with whom he was golfing with at the time, luckily a cardiologist, for help.

The golfer told him to see a doctor as soon as possible.

"He was very lucky. He had a bit of discomfort and mentioned it because there was a doctor there," said a friend of Chrétien, Eddie Goldenberg. "The doctor asked him a couple of questions and said, 'You better come and see me.' "

Chrétien's mother, who had heart disease, means that it could have been a genetic link, doctors say.

He had to postpone his speech at the Asia-Pacific mining conference in Vancouver, B.C..


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