New Delhi : Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) began performing heart surgery on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday morning. The operation is expected to last about five hours, hospital authorities said.
“The prime minister was wheeled into OT-5 at about 7.30 a.m. The surgical procedure will last four to five hours,” an AIIMS doctor said.
The surgery was being conducted by a team of 11 doctors led by well-known cardio-thoracic surgeon Ramakant Panda, vice chairman of Mumbai’s Asian Heart Institute.
Manmohan Singh, discharged from AIIMS Thursday following an angiography a day earlier, was re-admitted Friday after he felt uneasy at his 7 Race Course Road residence in the morning.
Tests over two days revealed that the 76-year-old, who became prime minister in May 2004 heading a Congress-led government, had multiple arterial blockages.
Following his angiography on Wednesday, doctors made it clear that the prime minister did not face any medical emergency. He himself said he felt no discomfort while the tests were carried out.
Even at this age, Manmohan Singh keeps himself fit doing yoga, is conscious of his diet and packs a punishing 18-hour work schedule despite having undergone a bypass surgery 18 years ago.
“The prime minister could have carried on for a few more days but his family felt the surgery should happen at the earliest,” a senior official told IANS.
Experts said the prime minister would need to rest for at least two to four weeks after Saturday’s surgery.
Manmohan Singh underwent a bypass surgery in Britain in 1991. In 2004, he had an angioplasty to open clogged arteries. He had prostate surgery in 2007 and underwent a cataract operation last year.
The third floor of the AIIMS, where the VIP operation theatre is located, was completely cordoned off Saturday. Those wanting to access this portion of the hospital complex were being asked to provide identity proof by security personnel.
However, despite tight security, patients were not facing any major difficulties.
“I have been here since Friday morning and have faced no problem. I have to see my doctor today,” said Devi Lal, a 40-year-old patient from Agra.
With Manmohan Singh hospitalised, the government decided Friday that his ceremonial role on Republic Day Monday will be discharged by Vice President Hamid Ansari.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee was Friday given the additional charge of the finance ministry, which was with Manmohan Singh.
Mukherjee, the seniormost member of the cabinet, would chair cabinet meetings in Manmohan Singh’s place. He is the leader of the house in the Lok Sabha. In the past, he has held fort when the prime minister has gone abroad.