Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Rudd to undergo heart surgery

Mr Rudd had similar surgery in 1993 as a result of having rheumatic fever when he was a child.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd will have heart surgery early next month. Mr Rudd is having his aortic valve replaced and the recovery could take up to eight weeks.

He had similar surgery in 1993 as a result of having rheumatic fever when he was a child. Mr Rudd says doctors have told him the valves are wearing out again.

"It's come time for a bit of a grease and oil change - myself I'll be having aortic valve replacement surgery," he said. "Surgery will be on or about August 1.The precise arrangements are being sorted out by cardiologists and cardiac surgeons and that will be known in due course."

He says he should make a full recovery. "In case anyone raises the question the doctors advise me that I have every expectation of a total recovery as happened last time," he said.

He says the surgery should not impact on his work for the Government. "This is about the same as what happened last time when I was director-general of the Cabinet Office in the Queensland Government," he said. "Surgery back then didn't get in the way of me being able to make a contribution to public life and the doctors tell me the same applies for this surgery as well.

"Therefore my decision to contest the next election should I once again be supported by my local branch members, remains absolutely unchanged."

Mr Rudd made the announcement at a press conference in Brisbane this afternoon. Shortly afterwards he tweeted that he would be "out of action for a while then up and raring to go".

"I hope that anyone worried about me a) doesn't and b) has a chat about importance of organ donation." In a statement he says he had been advised that doctors would not be using another human's valve in the upcoming surgery.

Mr Rudd says he has notified Prime Minister Julia Gillard and is likely to miss two sitting weeks of Parliament. He asked for privacy for his family during the period ahead. Mr Rudd will squeeze in several overseas trips before next month's surgery.

Tonight he will head to Indonesia for the East Asia Summit and will then travel to drought-hit regions of Kenya and Somalia.

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