San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

President Pacheco Hospitalized

PRESIDENT Abel Pacheco, 71, was hospitalizedfor three days this week because of problems withhigh blood pressure. Doctors described thePresident’s condition as “stable” throughout his hospitalizationbut said his blood pressure did not reachlow enough levels for his release until yesterdaymorning.Doctors have ordered Pacheco to rest for the nextseveral days and try to keep his stress levels low. Hewill return to work next Monday, according to theCasa Presidencial press office.“These weeks have been very difficult for thePresident; his health reacted to this,” said Vice-President Lineth Saborío, referring to recent accusationsin the press that the President wrongly acceptedfree gifts from private companies (see separate stories).Saborío is acting as President during Pacheco’srecovery.Pacheco thanked those who have prayed for hishealth and sent messages of support.“Everything is normalized, thanks to God and thegood personnel at the hospital,” he said in a statementreleased yesterday.PACHECO was taken to Rafael Angel CalderónHospital in San José Monday morning after measuringthe high blood pressure during a routine check in his office, according to the Casa Presidencial.Dr. Luis Paulino Hernández, directorof the hospital, said Pacheco entered thehospital with a blood pressure of 240 over110. Normal is 120 over 80.Although the level was stabilizedMonday and for the most part decreased, itdid have periods of elevation, althoughnever as high as the initial level,Hernández told the press. Throughout theweek, he was given regular cardiograms.Doctors will continue to monitor Pachecoafter he returns to work next week.A significant increase of blood pressurecan cause a heart attack or stroke,doctors said.DOCTORS have said Pacheco shouldreduce his workload and stress level; getmore rest on weekends; eat a balanced, low saltdiet; get more exercise and lose weight.“We have tried to create a balance inthe agenda of the President…but it effectshim greatly when his fundamental principlesare put into doubt – like his transparency,his integrity…” said Saborío,adding that Pacheco’s schedule will be furtherreduced if necessary.Hernández told Channel 7 TV Newsthat Pacheco’s situation this week was lessdangerous than it has been in the past.PACHECO was hospitalized for twodays in February after complaining ofchest pains (TT, Feb. 18). After exams atthe Calderón Hospital, doctors determinedPacheco had not suffered a heart attackand that his symptoms were brought on bywork-related stress. Tests revealed he hassmall fissures in his arteries.At the time, doctors also saidPacheco’s condition was not indicative offuture problems, and the President is inoverall excellent health. However, theyrecommended Pacheco take a weeklongvacation to reduce stress, advice thePresident did not heed.Pacheco, who also suffers from diabetes,had a stroke in 2000 when he was alegislator for the Social Christian UnityParty (PUSC).

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