Thailand's Royal Palace claims gains in aging king's health

AP News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2016 11:43 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's Royal Palace has announced that doctors have drained excess fluid that was putting pressure on the brain of 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

A statement from the palace, reported Sunday in Thai media, said the doctors were satisfied with the results of the procedure, which was carried out Saturday night. It also said that electrocardiograms and other tests found that a June 7 treatment to clear a clogged artery had successfully resulted in strengthening of the king's heart muscles.

Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, has been hospitalized for a large part of the past decade, mostly with ailments associated with aging. He has not made a public appearance since January.

In the past month, official announcements about his health have increased in frequency, but their narrow and technical focus make it hard to gauge the king's overall condition. At various points he has been said to been fed intravenously and been given oxygen to assist his breathing. Saturday's drainage of cerebrospinal fluid was the second time this procedure has been carried out in the past month.

The king's health is a concern because he has been seen as a stabilizing figure for much of his 70 years on the throne. His son and heir apparent, 63-year-old Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not yet command the same measure of respect and adoration.