Maradona recovering well from successful brain surgery on blood clot

Maradona recovering well from successful brain surgery on blood clot

Thursday, November 05, 2020

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Olivos, Argentina (AFP) — Argentine football great Diego Maradona is recovering “without complications” from successful brain surgery for a blood clot, his personal doctor said yesterday.

Surgeons at a specialist private clinic in Buenos Aires spent 80 minutes removing the clot on Tuesday night.

“He has no neurological issues. He's progressing without any complications,” said Leopoldo Luque.

World Cup winner Maradona had been taken to hospital in La Plata — where he is the coach of top-flight side Gimnasia y Esgrima — on Monday for a series of tests after feeling unwell.

A scan revealed the blood clot, and on Tuesday he was transferred to the specialist clinic in a northern neighbourhood of the capital.

“We managed to successfully remove the clot. Diego coped well with the surgery,” said Luque.

Maradona, who turned 60 last Friday, has suffered ill health before. He has survived two heart attacks, and also contracted hepatitis and underwent gastric bypass surgery.

Following this surgery, fellow Argentina football star Lionel Messi sent him a message of support.

“Diego, all the strength in the world. My family and I want to see you well as soon as possible,” said the Barcelona forward, who like Maradona in his pomp wears the No 10 jersey.

Groups of fans congregated outside the clinic with banners showing Maradona's face and the words “Come on, Diego!”

“Once more his health has played a trick on him but he has antibodies to recover with the help of the people,” fan Oscar Medina told AFP.

Behaving strangely

Due to his age and previous health issues, Maradona is considered high risk in relation to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Argentina hard.

Several times in the last eight months he has been in isolation and was forced to stay at home last week after a bodyguard showed coronavirus symptoms, although he later tested negative.

Prior to falling ill, Maradona had been depressed, his lawyer Matias Morla said yesterday.

The famously fast-living icon had only been able to spend half an hour at his own birthday celebration at his team's training ground on Friday, when he had difficulty walking.

“He was behaving strangely, he was very depressed and spoke about dead relatives that he missed,” said Morla.

He said Maradona was “very worried” about the surgery and praised Luque, adding that “if he hadn't detected the clot, Maradona's destiny would have been different.”

Luque insisted on Tuesday that the procedure was “a routine operation”.

“The operation consists of a small incision to drain the blood. In 24 or 48 hours the patient can leave the hospital,” neurosurgeon Raul Matera told TyC Sports channel.

Maradona's daughter Dalma said she had visited her father after his surgery but did not give further details of his condition.

“I just want to thank everyone for the constant displays of love for my dad, for my sister and for me, thanks to everyone who prayed for him,” she tweeted yesterday morning.

Anaemic

Maradona was transferred from the hospital in La Plata, 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of Buenos Aires, to the capital at 6:00 pm (2100 GMT) on Tuesday accompanied by another daughter, Giannina.

Dozens of Gimnasia fans outside the La Plata hospital chanted his name as he left.

Earlier in the day, Luque claimed Maradona was suffering from anaemia — a lack of iron in his system — and dehydration.

He also suggested Maradona's lifestyle had contributed to his condition.

“He's an elderly patient with many pressures in his life. It's a time when we must help him. It's very difficult to be Maradona,” Luque said of the star.

He said it was a condition that also affected Vice-President Cristina Kirchner when she was president.

“It breaks my heart to see him like this,” Giannina tweeted the next day.

Maradona has difficulty retaining iron due to gastric bypass surgery he underwent in 2005 to lose 50 kilogrammes (110 pounds), leaving him prone to anaemia, Luque said.

Though he has recovered from a well-documented addiction to hard drugs, Maradona takes medication in the form of tranquilizers and anxiolytics.


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