Samsung chairman set to be released from ICU

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Samsung chairman set to be released from ICU

Samsung Medical Center said yesterday that it is considering moving Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee out of an intensive care unit after his vital signs improved, dismissing concerns over the 72-year-old chairman, who is yet to regain consciousness a week after he had heart surgery.

“The result of every medical checkup shows that he is very stable and recovering gradually,” the hospital affiliated with the group said in a statement. “We are considering moving him to a general ward soon.”

The chairman has been sedated at an ICU on the third floor of the hospital in Irwon-dong, southeastern Seoul, since finishing a hypothermia treatment there on Tuesday. The hypothermia treatment, for which the patient is put in an induced sleep, was administered to him for two and a half days.

For the hypothermia treatment, the body temperature is lowered to 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) for 24 hours or more to prevent any damage that heart surgery could have on the brain or heart. In the surgery on Sunday, Lee had a stent inserted to maintain the flow of blood to his heart at the hospital.

Lee was short of breath last Saturday night, and received CPR at Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital near his Itaewon house. At Samsung Medical Center, where he was transferred early last Sunday, he was diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction.

The protracted hospitalization of the leader of the country’s largest business group has led to rumors that he is in grave condition, which the hospital refuted, saying that the doctors are not hurrying to release Lee due to his age and are continuing treatment for a “safe and perfect recovery.”

Yoon Soon-bong, the president of Samsung Medical Center told reporters in the hospital’s press room on Friday that the chairman’s condition “has improved.”

“I would not have visited the press room if he had not been improved,” he said.

BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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