Heart operation for Heseltine

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The Independent Online
Michael Heseltine, the former deputy prime minister, who was admitted to hospital with heart trouble last weekend, underwent surgery yesterday to widen the arteries supplying blood to his heart.

The operation, known as an angioplasty, was carried out at the private Harley Street Clinic in London. In a brief statement last night, Dr Brian Mawhinney, the Tory party chairman, said the surgery had been a success. "He is resting comfortably and hopes to go home in a few days," he said.

The operation indicates that Mr Heseltine's condition is more serious than simple fatigue caused by the rigours of the election campaign. He had a heart attack in 1993 while on holiday in Venice but always insisted it was only a minor attack from which he had fully recovered.

Mr Heseltine underwent an angiogram earlier this week, in which radio- opaque dye was injected into his heart which must have revelaed a blockage. The angioplasty, which was necessary to clear it, involves threading a wire carrying a tiny balloon through the artery in the groin up to the heart. The balloon is then inflated, stretching the narrowed artery, before being withdrawn to allow the blood to flow.

Mr Heseltine withdrew from the Tory leadership race last Saturday, having been the bookies' favourite.