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Tony Blair to Undergo Heart Treatment


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#1    Lottie

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 09:03 AM

Tony Blair has been admitted to Hammersmith Hospital in west London where he will undergo a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat.  

The prime minister will be under local anaesthetic to treat the "flutters", from which he also suffered last year.

He said he felt "fine" as he left Downing Street at 0705 BST on Friday.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Blair said he still intended to serve a full third term in office if elected but had no intention of serving a fourth term.
    
                                         If I am elected I would serve a full third term - I do not want to serve a fourth term                    
                Tony Blair
UK prime minister  

The procedure to be performed on Mr Blair is called catheter ablation - a simple technique which thousands of patients in the UK undergo each year, according to British Heart Foundation cardiologist Professor John Camm.

A wire is inserted through veins into the heart cavity  allowing doctors to "map" the rhythm disorder, he said. The wire is then manoeuvred next to that point and pulses of energy are sent down it which should correct the heart's rhythm.  

Mr Blair 's cardiologist says the procedure is non-surgical. Patients usually spend the night in hospital and are back at work within two to three days.


Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott played down the importance of the hospital treatment and said Mr Blair would "bounce back".

"It is quite clear from what the cardiologist says that this is a kind of regular procedure that they use and he should be back home tonight or at the latest tomorrow [Saturday] morning," Mr Prescott told the BBC Breakfast programme.

He added that Mr Blair had announced his intention to serve a full third term to quell "vote Blair get Brown" speculation.

"He has made his position absolutely clear ... he will be a very effective prime minister right to the time he went," said Mr Prescott.

On Wednesday Mr Blair described his condition as "not particularly alarming".

"I've actually had it for the last couple of months and it's obviously not impeded me doing my work," he told BBC political editor Andrew Marr.


'Quite extraordinary'

But Mr Blair insisted he could still make a "real contribution" to the country.

He said: "If I am elected I would serve a full third term. I do not want to serve a fourth term.
                  

"I don't think the British people would want a prime minister to go on that long but I think it's sensible to make plain my intention now."

But Mr Blair went on to say Gordon Brown would be "very capable" of being prime minister.

"I don't think it rules Gordon out in any shape or form at all - he'd be younger than many prime ministers have been if he took over at the end of a third term," he said.

Marr later described Mr Blair's announcement of his intention to serve a third term as "quite extraordinary".

"It sends a very, very clear message to all his critics in the party, including to those people called Brownites, that he intends to be there for a very long time," he said.

Tory leader Michael Howard said: "I am sorry to hear about the prime minister's ill health. I wish him well and a speedy recovery."

Meanwhile, Downing Street confirmed that the Blairs have bought a home in London's exclusive Connaught Square.

The house is reportedly worth 3.5m.

Source:BBC News      




#2    Lottie

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 09:26 AM

Prime Minister Tony Blair is to undergo a heart procedure in hospital on Friday to correct a continuing "flutter".

He was treated in October last year for supraventricular tachycardia (SVT),  but the problem has returned.

BBC News Online explains the condition, looks at what may have caused it and what treatments are given.  


        What is supraventricular tachycardia?                  

SVT is a disturbance of the heart rhythm caused by rapid electrical activity in the upper parts of the heart - the atria.

The heart goes from beating at a normal resting pulse of around 70 beats per minute to anywhere between 140 and 240 beats per minute.

Patients usually experience this surge as palpitations - a fluttering of the heart - but they may also feel dizzy or faint.

Experts say the condition is uncomfortable but not harmful.


        What treatment will Mr Blair receive on Friday?                  

Mr Blair will undergo a procedure called catheter ablation to restore his heart's natural rhythm.

The procedure does not involve a surgical incision and will be carried out under local anaesthetic and sedation.

His cardiologist, Dr Punit Ramrakha, who treated the prime minister in October, said catheter ablation has been developed in recent years and restores the heart's rhythm.

A catheter - a long, thin wire - will be introduced through the skin into large veins and moved inwards under x-ray control until the tip lies inside the heart chambers.

Electrical sensors at the tip allow the cardiologist to perform the procedure to locate the exact site of the short circuit.

The catheter then delivers pulses of energy which destroy - ablate - the short circuit.


        What treatment did the Prime Minister receive in October?                  

Once SVT was diagnosed, the aim would be to return the heart back to its normal rhythm.  

This was done by using a treatment called cardio version where, under anaesthetic, a mild electrical charge is carefully applied to switch the heart beat back to normal.

Patients are then kept in hospital for observation for a few hours to check the procedure has been successful.

       Is the condition caused by stress?                  

It is possible that SVT can be triggered by stress - although there are other potential triggers, such as being rundown because of a cold or flu or drinking too much caffeine.

However, the underlying cause is likely to be a slight congenital abnormality of the electrical activity of a person's heart.

This can lie dormant and not affect people for decades.

Professor Sir Charles George, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, told BBC News Online: "People tend to associate these rhythm disorders with periods of anxiety.

"But in most people, there's no obvious immediate cause."

Although people can suffer repeated attacks of SVT, many only have one episode in their lives.

        How common is SVT?                  

Experts say it is a fairly common heart rhythm disorder.

Thousands of people in the UK will have suffered SVT.

        Is there any follow-up treatment?                  

Patients may simply be advised to avoid potential triggers such as caffeine, alcohol and some over-the-counter cold remedies.

Others may be fitted with devices where electrodes are fitted to the chest for between 24 and 48 hours to monitor the heart's rhythm to see if they experience further episodes of SVT.

In the longer term, it is a matter of waiting to see if a patient does suffer another attack.

If they do, they can be given an electrophysiological test to see exactly where the problem lies.

Patients with persistent palpitations may be given anti-arrhythmic drugs to control the condition.

        Will the Prime Minister's illness have any effect on his ability to do his job?                  

The recovery time is short and Mr Blair will be able to return to work and undertake full activity within three to four days.


Mr Blair says he is determined to lead his party in a third term.        


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#3    Lottie

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 09:30 AM

Blair's Extrodinary Announcement bbc news

Tony Blair will have nothing but support from politicians on all sides in the Commons as he fights to overcome his recurring health problems.  

And, as he has said himself, his heart flutter alone is not enough to automatically end his premiership or make him incapable of contesting the next election or continuing in Downing Street if he wins it.

What will have stunned many and infuriated a good number, however,  is his insistence that he intends to out-do Margaret Thatcher and serve a full third term as prime minister if he wins.  
                                                                
United front - but for how long?
                        
                                              Whether Chancellor Gordon Brown had been informed of this decision before the prime minister announced it is not known.  

But if Mr Brown or his allies were holding out hopes of a swift succession they have been sensationally dashed.  

The prime minister's comment that "there are lots of people who want to do the job" certainly won't help calm them down either.  

Historic victory

It is unprecedented in modern times for a prime minister to set out his leadership plans so precisely.  

Mr Blair has said, if elected, he will serve a full third term but quit and spark a leadership election shortly before the election for a fourth term.  

Winning a third term would be an historic victory for Labour and only the most wildly optimistic, apparently including Mr Blair himself, believe they could then go on to win a fourth.  
                                         Will the Brown camp believe they have nothing to lose by moving against Mr Blair now - before the next general election?                    
          
                               So Mr Brown may now be facing the distinct possibility that he will never become prime minister. And that raises one obvious question.  

Will the Brown camp believe they have nothing to lose by moving against Mr Blair now - before the next general election?

They may consider they will not get a better chance of turning on their leader while he is at a weak point. And, despite his upbeat mood, the prime minister is undoubtedly weak.  

Poor performance

He cannot, and clearly never will throw off the shadow of Iraq which has dogged him since the war. His attempt to move on at his party conference appears to have made little difference to the level of opposition to his leadership over that decision.  

So he remains politically weakened by that. There are even those now wondering if his uncharacteristically poor performance as he delivered his big speech - along with a couple of rocky performances just before his summer holiday  - was a result of his health problems.  
                
                                         Some will also ask whether they want to be led into a tough election campaign by a leader with such health problems, no matter how successfully they have been dealt with.                    
    
                               Add to that the comment from his friend Lord Melvin Bragg, which hinted at family concerns unconnected to the prime minister's health, and the prime minister's detractors may see him personally weakened as well.  

Some will also ask whether they want to be led into a tough election campaign by a leader with such health problems, no matter how successfully they have been dealt with.  

Finally, health has traditionally been an "excuse" used by many of his predecessors to retire. In the political jungle, that is a dangerous combination.

Extraordinary announcement

The prime minister is well aware of all this and those considerations have almost certainly led to his extraordinary announcement.  

His decision to set out a clear end to his reign may be an attempt to shut down all the leadership chatter now while offering his would-be successors a clear target to look forward to.  

It was also an attempt to shut down the planned Tory election slogan "vote Blair get Brown."  

Still, the prime minister's claim that his statement might be a little unusual was one of the understatements of the century.  

Whether it succeeds to end the speculation over his future or actually intensify it remains to be seen.



#4    Talon

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 04:39 PM

I really wish he'd retire and let Gordon Brown take over sad.gif that said I hope Tony gets through this okay, we've had worse leaders by far

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#5    Angelofmercy

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:13 PM

ok, my stupidity is showing here i know, but I am hoping talon, you could remedy that for me (and maybe even a few others)

Scotland is not an independent country? They are under the rule of Great Britain?  Is it like in Canada (which i kinda understand because i took a tour of their parliament and got the whole story) Do you guys have a separate PM?  Or is Blair it?  

I was totally unware that Scotland was not Independent....

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#6    BurnSide

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:20 PM

Scotland, England, Wales, N. Ireland make up the United Kingdom, which has a Prime Minister, Tony Blair.


#7    Lottie

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:30 PM

Blair's Heart Treatment 'Successful'

Tony Blair has said he is "absolutely fine" after hospital treatment to correct an irregular heartbeat.  

Mr Blair arrived back in Downing Street after undergoing a procedure at London's Hammersmith hospital.

Spokesman Simon Wilde said the risk of recurrence was "very low" and that the "atrial flutter" had been eliminated.

Mr Blair has said in a BBC interview that he intends to serve a full third term in office if elected, but he ruled out running for a fourth.

'Fantastic care'

Mr Blair paid tribute to the Hammersmith Hospital staff saying: "From the porters to the doctors, nurses and consultants, their care was fantastic.

"It reflects the tremendous dedication, expertise and commitment NHS staff show everyday throughout the country."
    
                                         If I am elected I would serve a full third term - I do not want to serve a fourth term                    
Tony Blair
UK prime minister  
                        

Chancellor Gordon Brown, who is in Washington,  told the BBC his thoughts were with Mr Blair and his family

"I think the whole country will wish him well.

"It's gone very successfully."

The procedure performed on Mr Blair is called catheter ablation - a simple technique which thousands of patients in the UK undergo each year.

A wire is inserted through veins into the heart cavity allowing doctors to "map" the rhythm disorder.  

It is then manoeuvred next to that point and pulses of energy are sent down it which should correct the heart's rhythm.  

Patients usually spend the night in hospital and are back at work within two to three days.
                                                          
Blair wants to serve a third term but not a fourth

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said Mr Blair's treatment was a "regular procedure" adding he was someone who "bounced back".

He added that Mr Blair had announced his intention to serve a full third term to quell "vote Blair get Brown" speculation.

"He has made his position absolutely clear ... he will be a very effective prime minister right to the time he went," said Mr Prescott.

On Wednesday Mr Blair described his condition as "not particularly alarming" and said it had not "impeded" his work.

He told BBC political editor Andrew Marr in an interview that he felt  he could still make a "real contribution" to the country.

                                         I don't think it rules Gordon out in any shape or form at all                    
   Tony Blair
UK prime minister  

"If I am elected I would serve a full third term. I do not want to serve a fourth term."  

"I don't think the British people would want a prime minister to go on that long but I think it's sensible to make plain my intention now."

Mr Blair went on to say Gordon Brown would be "very capable" of being prime minister.

"I don't think it rules Gordon out in any shape or form at all - he'd be younger than many prime ministers have been if he took over at the end of a third term," he said.

                                         This statement will increase the anti-Blair opposition and make Labour's defeat at the next election more likely                    

The BBC's Andrew Marr later described Mr Blair's announcement of his intention to serve a third term as "quite extraordinary".

"It sends a very, very clear message to all his critics in the party, including to those people called Brownites, that he intends to be there for a very long time," he said.

Tory leader Michael Howard said: "I am sorry to hear about the prime minister's ill health. I wish him well and a speedy recovery."

'War of succession'

Tory co-chairman Liam Fox also wished the prime minister well.

But he added that Mr Blair's decision not to seek a fourth term, if he won a third, meant those in Labour with leadership ambitions would be lining up to bid for the position.

"Now we are going to have the entire Cabinet under starter's orders in the next Parliament, and that is going to be very destabilising - a perpetual war of succession," he told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

  Source:bbc news

I am glad he is okay         original.gif    




#8    Talon

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:33 PM

Scotland Wales and North Ireland each have their own leaders and parliaments though as of 1999, just they answer to Westminster.

Like the US has states.

We should be independent though  disgust.gif And I hate that Union Jack flag


user posted image

Edited by Talon S., 01 October 2004 - 05:33 PM.

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#9    Talon

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:35 PM

user posted image

Actually this is a better map, makes Scotland look bigger laugh.gif

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#10    Lottie

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:50 PM

Hey Talon,  that map does not have the Isle of Wight on it! laugh.gif  laugh.gif

I would rather have the Union Jack then the English flag, I can't stand that flag. Sadly it stands for nothing but thuggery and hooliganism with the associations with English football.


#11    Angelofmercy

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:54 PM

Thanks Burnside and Talon, that clears it up a lot!

So Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland Make up the UK with England and don't have a separate PM,

And Canada and Australia are, Soveignties, i guess that's the right word, of GB because they have their own Prime Minister, but they still are under the Queen (such that she has no power anyway) and there's a Liason between the PM and the queen called...oooohh i can't remember, some kind of general?  Have I got it straight now?

(I admit, my education of the world leaders and governments has been sadly lacking, but that's why i ask questions!!)

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#12    Lottie

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:59 PM

The Primeminister see's the queen on a weekly basis and gives her a brief on whats happening. The Queen however has very little to do  with the goverment. She is not allowed to intervene directly in politics.

Edited by Lottie, 01 October 2004 - 06:00 PM.


#13    gollum

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 06:01 PM

That's pretty much it angelofmercy, we(Scotland) have a first minister who is our representitive in national affairs. We have power over health,education,transport and such things but no power over defence or taxes(to a degree).

I was totally unware that Scotland was not Independent....

I wish...... crying.gif


Edited by gollum, 01 October 2004 - 06:03 PM.

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#14    Fluffybunny

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 06:03 PM

Well I like Tony Blair, he seems like a stand up kind of guy. I hope he is OK and that his "procedure" goes well.

Too many people on both sides of the spectrum have fallen into this mentality that a full one half of the country are the enemy for having different beliefs...in a country based on freedom of expression. It is this infighting that allows the focus to be taken away from "we the people" being able to watch, and have control over government corruption and ineptitude that is running rampant in our leadership.

People should be working towards fixing problems, not creating them.

#15    Talon

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 06:04 PM

QUOTE
I would rather have the Union Jack then the English flag, I can't stand that flag. Sadly it stands for nothing but thuggery and hooliganism with the associations with English football.


Oh I was talking about it instead of the Rampant or Saltire. Personally I find English flag rather ugly huh.gif I don't mean to insult anyone, I just hate the colour scheme

Now in all honesty which is better?

user posted image
Flag 1


user posted image
Flag 2


user posted image
Flag 3

? huh.gif


QUOTE
So Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland Make up the UK with England and don't have a separate PM,


All have the same PM, but Scotland has a First Minister, Wales a First Secretary, and Ulster a First Minister (but that last posistion was suspended in 2002). These ranks have certain controls over their countries, but others are still held by the PM.

[QUOTE]they still are under the Queen (such that she has no power anyway)

The Queen is scum

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato




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