US diplomat Richard Holbrooke in critical condition

Holbrooke's illness comes just before the White House is due to roll out an assessment of the revised strategy for the occupied region that Obama unveiled a year ago.

US diplomat Richard Holbrooke in critical condition

Richard Holbrooke, the veteran diplomat U.S. President Barack Obama tapped as his special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was in critical condition on Saturday after surgery to repair a tear in his aorta, the State Department said.

The 69-year-old Holbrooke fell ill at the State Department on Friday and was admitted to nearby George Washington University hospital.

"This morning, doctors completed surgery to repair a tear in his aorta," the State Department said on Saturday. "He is in critical condition and has been joined by his family."

A tear in this major artery of the body, known as an aortic dissection, is a painful and life-threatening condition that carries the risk of complications such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, according to Dr. Duke Cameron, chief of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Recovery often entails a week in the hospital and three to four months for full recovery, said Cameron, who is not one of Holbrooke's doctors.

"Half of the people who have it (a tear in the aorta) will die within 48 hours if there is no treatment for it," Cameron said in a telephone interview. "Even those who go to surgery, the chance of dying either in the operating room or a short time afterwards in 20 or 25 percent."

Holbrooke's illness comes just before the White House is due to roll out an assessment of the revised strategy for the occupied region that Obama unveiled a year ago.


Agencies

Last Mod: 12 Aralık 2010, 09:39
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