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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Bypass Set for Mid-November

Boris Yeltsin's heart bypass will take place in mid-November as scheduled, a chief Kremlin doctor said Wednesday in an attempt to quench a new wave of rumors that the president is too frail to undergo planned surgery.


"The operation on President Boris Yeltsin will be carried out as planned in the middle of November," Sergei Mironov was quoted by Interfax as saying.


A team of doctors that could include American heart specialist Michael DeBakey are expected to meet later this month to make a final assessment of Yeltsin's health and pronounce the date for the multiple bypass.


Mironov's statements came in response to a report aired on Echo Moskvy radio Tuesday night that the president is anemic and his low hemoglobin count puts surgery out of the question.


Citing unnamed Kremlin physicians, the station reported Yeltsin has a hemoglobin level of 42 and that doctors preparing him for the operation have so far been unable to raise it to the safe range of 78 to 96.


Mironov said Yeltsin's anemia "has not been a secret" and doctors are now alleviating the condition -- a shortage of red blood cells which bring oxygen from the lungs and carbon dioxide to them.


"There is no reason to say Boris Yeltsin is beyond being capable to have surgery," Mironov said.


Asked whether it is possible to operate on a patient with such a low red blood cell count, Moscow cardiologist Leonid Bokeriya said, "No."


"A level of 42 is evidence not to operate," said Bokeriya, who heads Moscow's Bakulev Cardiology Institute, which performs about a third of Russia's 6,000 annual heart surgeries.


Among other ailments, Yeltsin, 65, suffers from ischemia, a condition which reduces the flow of oxygen to the heart. He is presently resting at the Barvikha sanitorium, located on the outskirts of Moscow.


Meanwhile, police say they have identified the man who Tuesday night called in a bomb threat to the Central Clinical Hospital, perhaps under the assumption Yeltsin was still undergoing treatment there.