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article imageIsraeli president Shimon Peres collapses on stage in Tel Aviv

By Gemma Fox     Sep 13, 2009 in World
Israeli president Shimon Peres collapsed and lost consciousness on stage in Tel Aviv while answering questions at the Young Presidents Organisation event on Saturday night. He was taken to hospital but has been discharged on Sunday morning.
The 86-year old was answering questions at the event when he collapsed on stage, losing consciousness briefly. He came to himself, paramedics told the Israeli media.
Mr Peres was taken to the Sheba Medical Center after originally refusing to go to hospital. He was discharged on Sunday morning after test results returned showing that nothing was wrong.
One of the hospital medics, Dr Ari Shamis, told Israel Channel 10 that the president was not in danger and had, in fact, "spontaneously regained consciousness."
The presidents own doctor, Professor Rafi Walden, told media that the president was doing well and put the episode down to overwork.
The president's medical team said on Saturday that the temperature was high in the hall where Mr Peres was making his speech and suspected that this contributed to the fainting episode by causing a momentary drop in his blood pressure, the Jerusalem Post writes. Although Mr Peres is not known to suffer any medical conditions he was been taking blood pressure lowering medication for the past two years.
After the incident, Professor Walden said, "It was very hot there and he was standing up for a long time and felt weak. He feels fine now and is speaking to well-wishers from around the world on the phone."
Talking to Army Radio he also said, "What probably happened to him is what happens to soldiers."
He went on to explain his diagnosis, saying that the president had a build-up of blood in his arms and legs causing his overall blood pressure to drop, resulting in the fainting episode. He also suspects that, despite the heat, Mr Peres was not drinking enough.
He continued, explaining that paramedics on the scene had performed a series of tests including blood pressure and an EKG and said that, "all the tests results were completely normal."
Walden also said that the results of the tests showed that Peres had the body of someone "at least 15 years younger."
Professor Ze'ev Rotstein, the Director General surgeon at the Sheba Medical Center spoke on Sunday morning to Army Radio telling them that the president, "did not suffer any cardiac or cerebrovascular incident."
He continued, "Peres' general condition is excellent, and he looks fine. As we know our president, he is vivacious and will soon be functioning as usual, like two presidents put together. As soon as the tests our finished we promised him he will return to normal life."
Ayelet Frisch, Shimon Peres spokeswoman, told press at 0830 local time that, "the president is due to be discharged in ten minutes and travel to Jerusalem. This afternoon he will meet [US Middle East envoy George] Mitchell and continue [his schedule] as usual."
When asked by the media if Mr Peres would now slow down, Frisch smiled and said, "We will try to bravely stand up to the president. I hope maybe now he will be convinced he needs to rest."
Mr Peres is known for his hectic lifestyle. Professor Walden added, "It's very hard to stop him. He has a sense of mission that motivates him. He is very important to Israel."
This is not the only health scare for Shimon Peres this year. In June he was tested for Swine Flu after shaking hands and hugging a group of about 120 young visitors from abroad, who later were found to be affected with the H1N1 virus.
His tests returned to show that he had not been infected.
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