A PNM supporter walk away from the West Shore Private Hospital yesterday, where she went to support Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who was warded at the facility on Friday.

Raphael John-Lall

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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was resting comfortably yesterday after undergoing a successful procedure at the West Shore Medical Private Hospital in Cocorite to clear a blocked artery. Dr Rowley was admitted to hospital on Friday evening after experiencing discomfort and remains warded after getting an angiogram followed by the angioplasty yesterday afternoon.

The following statement was released by the Office of the Prime Minister shortly after the medical procedure was completed:

“The Office of the Prime Minister is pleased to advise that the Honourable Prime Minister is resting comfortably and under the care of his doctors and medical team.

The Prime Minister underwent an angiogram and a subsequent angioplasty which went well.

“In accordance with normal medical procedure, the Prime Minister will be kept for further observation overnight.

“We thank all well-wishers for their prayers and messages. We look forward to the Prime Minister being discharged and will continue to provide updates on his well-being.”

There was a heightened security detail at the private hospital yesterday and the Prime Minister’s family were among the few visitors seen entering the facility.

However, well-wishers, including members of the opposition United National Congress (UNC) have sent messages wishing Dr Rowley a speedy recovery.

The UNC message stated: “Following on Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s message last night, the entire United National Congress and its membership extends our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

“Our political differences should never override our common humanity and, indeed, our brotherhood and sisterhood as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

“We are all striving for the betterment of our country, even if we may have different views on the best path to get there.

“We wish Dr Rowley all of God’s blessings for good health.”

This is not the first time that the Prime Minister has received medical attention for a heart condition. Dr Rowley, who celebrated his 71st birthday last October, visited the United States in March 2019 for follow up treatment after revealing that in 2016 his doctors in California had observed soft plaque build up in his heart. The condition was believed to have worsened by the following year.

He said then, a year and a half after that initial diagnosis and following dietary changes, that he was returning to the US to see whether his health had improved.

In a media release on Friday evening, National Security Minister Stuart Young said Dr Rowley “had some discomfort” and “as a precautionary measure, decided to seek medical attention and have a check-up.” Young said even though the PM was in hospital there was no need for an acting prime minister.

What is an angioplasty?

An angioplasty is a common procedure to open arteries in the heart that are clogged. These procedures are formally known as coronary angioplasty or percutaneous coronary intervention.

Angioplasty involves the use of a tiny balloon to widen the artery.

The procedure is commonly done when a fatty substance known as plaque attaches to the walls of an artery. This is a condition known as atherosclerosis. The buildup of plaque causes the inside of the artery to narrow, restricting blood flow.

When plaque affects the coronary arteries, it’s known as coronary heart disease — a serious health condition. The buildup of plaque in the arteries is particularly threatening to health because the coronary arteries supply the heart with fresh, oxygenated blood. Without it, the heart can’t function.

Angioplasty can alleviate the blockage of an artery and angina, or persistent chest pain, that medications can’t control. They’re also emergency procedures used if someone is having a heart attack.

The risks associated with the procedure include:

° an allergic reaction to medication or dye

° breathing problems

° bleeding

° a blockage of the stented artery

° a blood clot

° a heart attack

° an infection

° re-narrowing of the artery

Rare side effects include stroke and seizure.

More often than not, the risks of not going through the procedure outweigh the risks associated with angioplasty. (Information courtesy healthline.com)