Prince Philip given heart stent
London - Queen Elizabeth II's husband has
undergone treatment for a blocked coronary artery, British royal officials said
Buckingham Palace said Prince Philip, 90, was
taken from Sandringham, the queen's sprawling estate in rural Norfolk, to the
cardiac unit at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge earlier on Friday for
"precautionary tests" after suffering chest pains.
The palace refused to confirm if Philip had
suffered a heart attack, saying only that tests at the hospital showed a
blocked coronary artery was causing Philip's discomfort.
"This was treated successfully by the
minimally invasive procedure of coronary stenting," the palace said in a
statement. "Prince Philip will remain in hospital under observation for a
Doctors said Philip could have suffered a
heart attack, but without more information it was impossible to know for sure.
Coronary stenting is standard procedure both
to fend off a heart attack or save a patient already in the midst of one, said
Dr. Allan Schwartz, chief of cardiology at New York-Presbyterian, Columbia
University Medical Center.
"It is a big spectrum, there's no way of
knowing what applies to him," Schwartz said. "Saying you're taken to
the hospital with chest pain is like saying you're taken to the hospital with a
gunshot wound. It could be a grazing shot that's not significant or it could be
something that's serious. Either way with the right treatment, you're
Schwartz said Philip's trim figure and
athleticism bode well for his recovery.
Dr Jonathan Tobis, director of interventional
cardiology at UCLA, said coronary stenting is much less invasive than surgery
because it is typically done through a catheter method, inserting a balloon
down a blocked artery, blowing it up to open the blockage, then putting in a
stent to keep the artery wall open.
Tobis said that any procedure carries risks,
but advances in coronary medicine over the past 30 years means the procedure
can be done "remarkably safely — even in people in their 90s."
"Nowadays, patients typically go home
the next day," Tobis said.
A spokesperson for the palace would not say
if other members of the royal family were Philip, who is also known as the Duke
of Edinburgh. She spoke on customary condition of anonymity. A hospital
spokesperson referred all calls to the palace.
Papworth Hospital's website says it is the UK's
largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital and the country's main heart and
lung transplant center, offering services such as cardiology, respiratory
medicine and cardiothoracic surgery and transplantation.
Philip had been at Sandringham since Monday
for the royal family's Christmas festivities, Buckingham Palace said.
It was unclear how Philip's hospitalisation
would alter the royal family's plans for the weekend, which typically include a
public appearance before church services and then a private family lunch.
Philip has been known to enjoy good health
throughout his life and rarely misses royal engagements. Upon his 90th birthday
in June, he announced plans to cut back his official duties.
He came down with a cold in October and cancelled
an overnight visit to Italy to recover. That illness came shortly after Philip
accompanied the queen on a busy 11-day official royal tour of Australia.
Philip also spent three days in the hospital
in 2008 for treatment of a chest infection after suffering a bad cold.
The colourful and often outspoken husband of
Elizabeth has been a familiar figure at his wife's side for decades. He has
championed numerous charities over the years, but is advising the ones he heads
to start planning an orderly transition as he plots the end of his working
The royal family's traditional Christmas
celebration will be followed by a year's worth of festivities to mark the
queen's 60th year on the throne.
Elizabeth and Philip have been planning to
mark the event with a series of tours throughout England to culminate with a
celebration in London in early June that will include an unprecedented pageant
on the River Thames with up to 1 000 boats taking part.
Most of the senior royals, including Prince
William and his wife, now formally known as the Duchess of Cambridge, will be
dispatched across the globe to help the aging monarch celebrate her Diamond
A member of the Greek royal family, Philip is
descended from Danish and German royalty. He joined the Royal Navy in 1939 and
saw active service throughout World War II.
Philip married Elizabeth in 1947, when she
was still a princess. He gave up his naval career when she became queen.
Philip is a great-great-grandchild of Queen