Australian FM Kevin Rudd to undergo heart surgery in August

13:15, July 21, 2011      

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Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday confirmed he will have surgery early August to replace a leaky aortic valve that was inserted almost 20 years ago.

Rudd had similar surgery in 1993 as a result of having rheumatic fever when he was a child, and he said doctors have told him the valves are wearing out again.

"I'll be having aortic valve replacement surgery," he told ABC News on Wednesday.

"Surgery will be on or about August 1. The precise arrangements are being sorted out by cardiologists and cardiac surgeons and that will be known in due course."

Rudd said he should make a full recovery, and the surgery should not impact on his work for the government.

"Surgery back then didn't get in the way of me being able to make a contribution to public life and the doctors tell me the same applies for this surgery as well," he said.

"Therefore my decision to contest the next election should I once again be supported by my local branch members, remains absolutely unchanged," he said.

Rudd's operation will be conducted by a specialist surgeon and take place in either Sydney or Brisbane of Australia.

Rudd's cardiologist, David Celermager, professor of cardiology at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said the 53-year-old high-profile patient should have several more decades in public life after he recovers from heart valve replacement surgery.

"He's still in robust good health, as everyone who sees his schedule flying around the world would know," Prof Celermajer said.

Prof Celermajer said Rudd was expected to be off for two months after surgery.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson would fill in for Rudd's job while he was recovering.

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