Arroyo now also afflicted by heart ailmentBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been moved to the intensive care unit of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center after doctors discovered a heart condition in tests conducted this week.
Hospital director Dr. Nona Legaspi said the Pampanga representative was transferred to the ICU at 3 p.m. Friday.
Electrocardiographs taken Wednesday and Thursday showed Arroyo was suffering from coronary ischemia or diminished blood flow to the heart.
“We have to monitor her constantly at the ICU which has doctors and nurses 24/7,” Legaspi said, explaining the decision to move the patient out of the presidential suite.
“We are assuming that it is a blockage; this is why we are acting with urgency and not with complacency. You cannot leave her alone like that,” Legaspi told reporters.
Legaspi issued Friday afternoon a third medical bulletin on Arroyo’s health since the former President was readmitted to the hospital Thursday last week.
Asked if Arroyo could be well enough to attend her arraignment on Monday on plunder charges, the VMMC director said they were monitoring the patient’s health on a daily basis.
The former President is hooked to an intravenous drip to address her hypokalemia or low serum potassium levels in the blood, which Legaspi said was vital to the body’s overall wellness.
Initially, Arroyo complained of chest pains, which prompted doctors to conduct the ECG tests this week, Legaspi said.
The ECG tests revealed the ischemia and left ventricular enlargement which Legaspi said was an effect of hypertension.
The hospital director named intense stress as a possible cause for the ischemia.
Doctors are set to conduct further blood enzyme tests, 2D echo and stress 2D echo tests on Arroyo in the coming days.
The 2D echo and stress 2D echo can be only performed outside the hospital such as the Philippine Heart Center. Legaspi said this would need court permission as Arroyo must be brought out of the VMMC, where she is under hospital arrest.
“We should further investigate what is causing the ischemia,” she added, adding that leaving the condition untreated could lead to a heart attack.
“That is why we reacted this urgently,” Legaspi said, adding that they primarily consider Arroyo as a patient.
Legaspi observed that the former President was “very thin” although her previous dehydration has been corrected.
Policemen stood guard outside the ICU to secure Arroyo, who is being held under house arrest at the VMMC for the second time.
Asked if Arroyo was fit to be held in a regular detention center, Legaspi replied that the detention center must have hospital monitoring equipment first.