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Russia: Yeltsin Surgery Preparations On Schedule, Says Kremlin

Moscow, 15 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Preparations for Russian President Boris Yeltsin's heart surgery are going according to plan, says Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky.

Yastrzhembsky told a news conference in Moscow today that the latest tests showed that the quality of Yeltsin's blood had improved in the last week. Recent Russian media reports had said that Yeltsin's haemoglobin levels were so low that surgeons may recommend the operation be delayed.

Yeltsin, who is preparing for the operation at the Barvikha sanatorium outside Moscow, is expected to undergo heart surgery by mid-December.

The surgeon who will operate on Yeltsin's heart, doctor Renat Akchurin, today told Itar-Tass that leading American cardiologist Michael DeBakey will not take part in the operation.

DeBakey, a pioneering heart surgeon who conducted the world's first successful heart bypass operation, visited Moscow last month for consultations with Russian doctors on Yeltsin's health.

Akchurin, currently in the American city of Houston, also said that no date has been set for the operation. He said that even when the day is finalized, it will not be made public.