Philippine First Gentleman still under observation

17:14, March 26, 2010      

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Philippine First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo was still being monitored on Friday for possible complications due to the tearing of another section in the wall of his heart's main artery, doctors said.

Jose Miguel Arroyo was rushed to the St. Luke's Global City Hospital in Taguig City Thursday morning after complaining of back pains. His doctors tried to prevent a rupture in his artery by lowering his blood pressure.

The First Gentleman's aorta suffered a tear on April 9, 2007 and he underwent a heart bypass operation.

A medical bulletin released by the hospital Friday morning reported a "marked improvement" in his back pain so that his pain reliever would just be given on an "as-needed basis."

Dr. Juliet Gopez Cervantes, Arroyo's attending physician who read the medical bulletin, said the First Gentleman's doctors are reducing the dosage of his anti-hypertension drugs following the lowering of his elevated blood pressure.

"We are now gradually putting him on progressive diet. While his overall condition is remarkably improved, we still have to closely monitor him as he could still encounter some possible complications of his re-dissection of thoracic aorta," Cervantes said, adding the hospital will issue another medical bulletin on Saturday.

Philippine presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo called for prayers for Mr. Arroyo's recovery and for the comfort of the First Family, especially President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who has canceled all her schedules since Thursday.

Saludo urged cabinet members and other top government officials to "lighten the burden of the President" by "redoubling efforts to address pressing concerns of our people, especially hardships brought by El Nino" and finish her development agenda before she steps down in June.

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