Slovak Prime Minister Fico undergoes heart surgery, in stable condition

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 22, 2016 5:37 AM

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico had heart surgery on Friday and is in stable condition, officials from the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases said.

"The surgery proceeded in a standard way. The patient is in stable condition," surgeon Michal Hulman told reporters.

The doctors gave no further details.

Doctors said last week they could not confirm whether Fico had suffered a heart attack after he checked himself into the hospital on April 14 complaining of chest pains.

The daily Dennik N, which was first to report that Fico was in surgery, quoted a hospital source as saying he had a triple bypass, a procedure that diverts the flow of blood around a section of a blocked or partially blocked artery in the heart.

Fico canceled scheduled visits to the Czech Republic and Poland and missed a parliamentary debate on his month-old government's manifesto after being hospitalized.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini presented the government's agenda to lawmakers, who are expected to approve it and give the new cabinet a vote of confidence next week.

Fico's four-party coalition government has a comfortable majority of 81 votes in the 150-member parliament.

The 51-year-old Fico is a regular jogger and also plays soccer. He has a history of spinal problems and sports-related injuries but no known heart issues.

He began his second straight term in office last month after an election in which his leftist Smer party lost its majority in parliament but remained the senior party in a coalition government. It is his third term overall as prime minister.

The parliamentary speaker and chairman of a junior coalition Slovak national party, Andrej Danko, may also have stomach surgery in the coming days after examinations at the National Institute of Oncology, a spokeswoman said.

(Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Angus MacSwan)