Israeli PM Ariel Sharon to undergo more surgery

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon during a press conference in the Cross Hall of the White House on April 14, 2004

Ariel Sharon, 77, is scheduled to undergo a tracheotomy today, which is expected to help wean him off a respirator, which is helping him to breathe, a hospital statement said.

A tracheotomy is a procedure where an incision in the windpipe is made to create a temporary or permanent opening. It will allow for the removal of the breathing tube now inserted in Sharon's throat. Sharon suffered a major stroke on January 4, 2006. Last week, doctors said the plastic tube connecting his windpipe with the respirator would start to cause him damage if left in for too long.

Tracheotomies are routinely performed on stroke victims to reduce the risk of infection posed by intubation.

"The prime minister's condition continues to remain critical but stable," said a statement issued by Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital where doctors have been trying, unsuccessfully, to wake Sharon from a medically induced coma. "This evening the prime minister will undergo a CT test after which he will undergo a tracheotomy. The surgery is aimed at helping to wean him off a respirator machine. It will be conducted in the operating room under general anaesthesia."

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