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Fears over Mugabe's health as he sees heart surgeon



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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's health is failing.

Confirmation of the 81-year-old leader's health problems came on Thursday morning when he saw a prominent cardiologist at the Diagnostic Heart Centre in the Avenues.

Zimbabwean authorities have always refused to issue any statements about Mugabe's health. However, it is known that Mugabe has been seen by Iranian doctors and has visited South African clinics over a heart ailment.

Mugabe was examined through a procedure called echocardiography by Professor Jonathan Arthur Matenga, a heart specialist, according to the respected Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.

Mugabe's deputy Joseph Msika is also unwell, after suffering a mild stroke recently. A hastily arranged television appearence after reports of Msika's failing health failed to dispel swirling rumours about his health as he appeared pale, and visibly weak.

Mugabe's only other two deputies since Independence from white minority rule in 1980 are both dead. Joshua Nkomo and Simon Muzenda both died while still holding office.

Mugabe, visibly the strongest of the bunch, recently returned from a trip to Malaysia with a bandage on the forehead. It is said he took a nasty fall, apparently after his heart ceased.

The Zimbabwe Independent reports that Mugabe’s motorcade was parked outside the Diagnostic Centre at Number 6 Josiah Tongogara Avenue from 8:30am until 10:30am.

"Mugabe’s echocardiography test heightened fears his health could be deteriorating," the paper's News Editor Dumisani Muleya wrote.

An echocardiography is a procedure that uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the heart muscle.

Ultrasound waves that rebound or echo off the heart can show the size, shape and movement of the heart's valves and chambers as well as the flow of blood through the heart.

Echocardiography may show such abnormalities as poorly functioning heart valves or damage to the heart tissue from a past heart attack. It is used to diagnose certain cardiovascular diseases.

The test can help reveal information such as the size and shape of the heart, its pumping strength and capacity, and the location and extent of any damage to its tissues.

It is especially useful for assessing diseases of the heart valves. It not only allows doctors to evaluate the heart valves, but it can detect abnormalities in the pattern of blood flow, such as the backward flow of blood through partly closed heart valves.
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