March 4, 2008 / 11:25 PM / 11 years ago

Walesa leaves Texas hospital after heart treatment

HOUSTON, March 4 (Reuters) - Former Polish President Lech Walesa left a Houston hospital on Tuesday after treatment for a weak heart and said he feels better than he has in years.

Doctors said Walesa, 64, might eventually need bypass surgery or a heart transplant but he was well enough to be discharged after receiving a stent to open a coronary artery and a pacemaker-defibrillator to steady his heartbeat.

"My health is very much improved," Walesa said in a statement issued by Methodist Hospital. "It has been a long time since I have felt this good. I am overjoyed that I do not need a heart transplant at this time."

Walesa came to Houston from Mexico last week for treatment after suffering chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. He said he now plans to return to Mexico for a youth conference.

"I hope to work harder than ever to help people around the world," he said. "Dictators and oppressors should continue to fear me because I will be here for a long time."

Doctors also tested and treated Walesa for diabetes, high cholesterol and sleep apnea, or irregular breathing while sleeping. They also prescribed an exercise regimen, he said.

Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for his role in fighting communism in his native Poland. He served a term as president from 1990 to 1995. (Reporting by Bruce Nichols; editing by Jeff Franks and Bill Trott)




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