Lula Hospitalized Following Spike In Blood Pressure

03/30/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was released from the hospital Thursday after suffering an attack of high blood pressure just before he was to leave for an economic summit in Switzerland.

Silva, 64, was in the presidential plane in the northeastern city of Recife preparing to head to the World Economic Forum in Davos when he fell ill late Wednesday and was taken to a hospital, his personal physician said.

The trip to Davos was canceled. Silva, who is in the last year of his final term, has been told in past medical checkups that he needed to lose weight, and in 2005 he was hospitalized overnight after undergoing surgery to remove a nasal polyp.

"It was caused by a series of factors ... stress and fatigue," said Silva's doctor Cleber Ferreira. "It was a sporadic episode. The president does not have hypertension and his blood pressure is absolutely normal, it always has been."

Ferreira said that "for a person of his age, his blood pressure is enviable – 110 over 80."

The doctor also told reporters Silva resisted going to the hospital and wanted to continue his 10-hour trip to Switzerland, but he convinced the president he needed to rest.

Silva flew to Sao Paulo and is resting at his home just outside the city, said Franklin Martins, Silva's communications minister. Silva's agenda has been cleared until Monday, when he will return to work.

Silva's cardiologist, Roberto Kalil Filho, examined the president in Sao Paulo and said he was tired but otherwise healthy. He said Silva will undergo more exams in the coming days.

Silva attended the World Social Forum on Tuesday in Porto Alegre in southern Brazil and had a heavy day of work in Recife on Wednesday. Ferreira said the heat of Brazil's summer and the fact the president recently had a light case of the flu contributed to his exhaustion.

A statement from the presidency said Silva was treated at Hospital Portugues, where he underwent a series of exams – an EKG, chest X-ray, a CT scan and a series of blood tests – none of which indicated anything other than high blood pressure.

The statement also said Silva spent the night in the hospital and rested comfortably before being released just before 7 a.m. (1000 GMT; 4 a.m. EDT).

Television images showed a tired but otherwise relaxed-looking Silva hugging doctors and exiting the hospital with his chief of staff and chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, who has successfully fought cancer in the last year. Silva waved and smiled at onlookers as he left the hospital, but did not speak to reporters.

Silva had been set to receive a new "Global Statesmanship Award" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles will take Silva's place at the forum in Davos.

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