Mother Teresa Undergoes Angioplasty

From Times Wire Services

Doctors performed angioplasty Friday on Mother Teresa, who had been near death after a heart attack a week ago.

One surgeon said the 86-year-old nun had a weak heart but astonishing “spiritual strength.”

“She surprises us every time. I’ve seen her near death at least on four occasions, and her recovery has always amazed me,” said Dr. Patricia Aubanel, who helped perform the angioplasty.

Aubanel also revealed that Mother Teresa had suffered a mild heart attack Nov. 22. She had been hospitalized since then with chest pain and breathing difficulties.


Mother Teresa’s survival was in doubt after the heart attack, Aubanel said. Doctors had delayed an angiogram, a test that revealed blockages in two arteries, because of concerns about the nun’s age and poor condition. They performed the angioplasty immediately after the angiogram Friday.

“She was going to have a heart attack--a major heart attack--if the angioplasty was not done,” said Aubanel, who also treated Mother Teresa in 1991 and 1993.

Aubanel said Mother Teresa was awake soon after the surgery and that she expected the nun would return to work soon.

“Her first words were, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you. God bless,” said Aubanel, a U.S. doctor who flew in last week to join Indian doctors treating Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa was well enough to dine on chicken soup and toast after the procedure and had a full night’s sleep, awaking this morning in good spirits, said S.K. Tewari, a spokesman for the B.M. Birla Heart Research Center in Calcutta.

Dr. Devi Shetty, also on the surgical team, said Mother Teresa had been transferred to the hospital in critical condition Tuesday from another facility.

On Friday, “she was in a better mood. Her lung condition was much, much better, and she generally had a feeling of well-being,” he said.

Naresh Kumar, a longtime friend, said Mother Teresa was “happy at the prospect of getting back to her work with the poor.”


Angioplasty Procedure

After Mother Teresa suffered a mild heart attack last week, doctors removed blockages from two of her arteries in an angioplasty operation Friday. The method:

A stainless steel stent attached to a balloon catheter is placed inside a partially blocked artery.

The balloon catheter, with mesh-like net stent, is then expanded to clear blockage.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine