Nigeria President Umaru Yar'Adua 'has heart problem'- BBC
Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009
Nigeria President Umaru Yar'Adua 'has heart problem'
The president has had a chronic kidney condition for at least 10 years
Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has a heart condition, his spokesman has said, after he flew to Saudi Arabia on Monday for medical treatment.
Mr Yar'Adua has acute pericarditis, or inflammation of the lining around the heart, his spokesman told the BBC.
He said the president, 58, was responding well to treatment. Officials earlier denied rumours that the president was seriously ill.
Mr Yar'Adua has had a chronic kidney condition for at least 10 years.
He has been unable to perform a number of official duties because of recurring health problems.
At about 3pm Friday November 20, after he returned from the Abuja Central Mosque where he performed Muslim prayer, President Yar'Adua complained of a left-sided severe chest pain
President Yar'Adua has twice been flown to Germany for emergency treatment and it is the second time he has visited hospitals in Saudi Arabia.
He has refused to say exactly what condition he suffers from, and has repeatedly said in interviews that his life is "in the hands of God".
Acute inflammatory pericarditis usually lasts one to three weeks and does not lead to further problems, according to the American Heart Association
About 20% of pericarditis patients have a recurrence within months or, rarely, within years, it says.
Presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi said Mr Yar'Adua felt pains after performing Friday prayers last week.
"At about 3pm Friday November 20, after he returned from the Abuja Central Mosque where he performed Muslim prayer, President Yar'Adua complained of a left-sided severe chest pain," he said, reports Reuters news agency.
Mr Adeniyi said the initial diagnosis was pericarditis, which has since been confirmed.
Officials had earlier been quoted as saying the president intended to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca this week.
Analysts say his continued ill-health poses a problem for Nigeria's constitution.
If he were to step down or die, he would be replaced by Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, who is from the country's southern Niger Delta region.
But according to the ruling People's Democratic Party's own formula for sharing power among the country's regions, the president must be a northerner.