Lech Walesa evaluated for heart transplant

February 26, 2008 9:41:57 AM PST
Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Polish president Lech Walesa was undergoing tests for heart failure and being evaluated as a potential heart transplant recipient, Houston's Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center said Tuesday. A brief announcement from the heart center did not detail the extent of the 64-year-old Walesa's condition, saying only that he was being evaluated this week.

The former electrician at what was then known as the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk rose to power as the leader of the Solidarity trade union that emerged from a 1980 strike at the shipyard. Solidarity's recognition by the ruling government ultimately toppled the Communist regime in 1989.

Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and was president of Poland from 1989 to 1995.

The DeBakey Center is named for heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, now 99, who is chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and internationally renowned for pioneering advances in heart surgery.

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