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Graham hospitalized for procedure

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP)–Evangelist Billy Graham remains hospitalized following an elective procedure Feb. 13 to install a new valve in a shunt designed to drain excess fluid from his brain, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina.

“He’s on a soft diet tonight, will be on a regular diet tomorrow and should be up and walking around,” Larry Ross, Graham’s spokesman, told the Associated Press after the surgery at Asheville’s Mission Hospital.

The new valve was an update to a shunt installed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in 2000 to alleviate the condition hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid within the brain that can cause symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, the Citizen-Times said.

At a recent checkup at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., doctors found that the shunt was no longer draining the fluid properly, and they proposed an operation for the 89-year-old preacher.

No date for Graham’s release was given by Thursday morning, but he was expected to remain in the hospital for several days while doctors programmed the valve externally to maintain the appropriate fluid levels, AP said.

“He was bright and alert and conscious immediately after surgery and called me by name,” Ralph Loomis, Graham’s doctor, said in a statement.

Graham was hospitalized at Mission for nearly two weeks last year, AP noted, after experiencing intestinal bleeding. His wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died last June.

The Citizen-Times reported that Graham’s children, including his daughters Anne and Ruth and his son Franklin, were in his hospital room to greet him when he returned from surgery. A hospital spokeswoman said the family expressed gratitude that the 28-minute procedure went well.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach.

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