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Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa undergoes tests for heart failure

Houston, TX - 2/27/2008

Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Polish president Lech Walesa is at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center in Houston this week undergoing tests for heart failure.

“We're doing everything we can to make sure Mr. Walesa doesn't need a transplant right away. We have high hopes that we will be able to restore function in his heart by other means, thereby relieving him of symptoms like chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. Our goal, of course, is to prevent or postpone the need for transplant, and we have many tools at our disposal," said Dr. Guillermo Torre, heart failure specialist at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and section chief of cardiac transplantation at Methodist.

During one of Mr. Walesa’s tests today, doctors detected a blockage in one of the arteries supplying blood to his heart and implanted an intracoronary stent to open the narrowed artery. Dr. Neal Kleiman, section chief of interventional cardiology at Methodist, performed the successful procedure. Mr. Walesa will rest and have further evaluations this week.

Mr. Walesa rose from the ranks of the Polish workers to form the Solidarity movement, driving communism from the country and becoming a worldwide symbol for freedom. He earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and was president of Poland from 1989 to 1995.

A frequent world traveler, the 64-year-old Walesa has entrusted his medical care to the internationally acclaimed team of cardiologists at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center in Houston.

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