A beaming Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas left a hospital in the Jordanian capital Amman today, saying he felt “just fine” hours after undergoing a successful minor heart procedure.
“Things are just fine and I’m in very good health,” 69-year-old Abbas told reporters, smiling as he left the hospital dressed in an elegant black suit.
Palestinian officials said Abbas was on his way to the neighbouring West Bank, but declined to elaborate on his itinerary or say whether he was going by land or helicopter.
“What I had yesterday was a routine examination, but I did not feel tired or complained of anything,” he said, apparently responding to comments by his top aide, Tayeb Abdel Rahim.
He had said yesterday the Palestinian leader complained of fatigue and underwent angioplasty, a procedure to clear out clogged coronary arteries.
Two Jordanian doctors who examined the Palestinian leader insisted that Abbas underwent a coronary angiogram, also known as catheterisation – a common procedure to ensure that the arteries are not clogged.
Dr Abdullah al-Bashir, who routinely examines Abbas and attended yesterday’s procedure, said a stenting procedure which Abbas had a few years ago was also examined. Stenting are tiny mesh tubes threaded into arteries to keep the blood flowing smoothly.
“Mr Abbas feels well and he’s in an excellent condition,” al-Bashir said before Abbas was discharged from the hospital.
“The procedure went fine and was successful,” Dr Bashir said. Another doctor who refused to be identified said “no clogged arteries were found and the heart appeared to be functioning very well.”
Jordanian officials and Iraqi diplomats were among Abbas’ visitors at the hospital.
Abbas joked with reporters and smiled as he left the hospital, brushing aside speculation over his health.
Asked whether he had quit smoking, Abbas answered with a smile: “Since when you saw me smoke? I’m not a smoker.”
Palestinian aide Abdel Rahim said yesterday the Palestinian leader underwent angioplasty. But Bashir and the other doctor insisted it was not. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.
“It was a routine catheterisation to make sure the arteries are not clogged,” al-Bashir said.
The other doctor said the procedure involved inserting a tube in the blood vessel and injecting a dye to measure how well the heart valve and heart muscle function.
Cardiac catheterisation allows a specialist to see an outline of the coronary arteries and determine the extent of blockages in these vessels.