Argentine ex-leader Kirchner leaves hospital after angioplasty, stent

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner left the hospital late Sunday after undergoing angioplasty on a coronary artery.

"I'm perfect," Kirchner said to reporters as he left the Buenos Aires clinic accompanied by his wife and Argentina's current president, Cristina Fernandez.

Kirchner has a history of heart disease and felt numbness in his legs during a routine checkup Saturday. Doctors advised an immediate angioplasty. A stent was installed in an obstructed coronary artery during the operation, which was done with local anesthesia, presidential secretary Oscar Parrilli said.

"The intervention was successful," presidential Dr. Luis Buonomo and the Los Arcos Clinic's Dr. Marcelo Ballesteros said in a joint statement. "There should not be any complications."

Fernandez left the clinic early Sunday. Kirchner will stay for up to two more days to recover, the doctors said.

Kirchner went to the same clinic for emergency surgery last February to remove plaque from his right carotid artery after having trouble moving his arm. Carotid artery disease involves the narrowing of the main arteries that carry blood from the heart to the brain. These arteries can thicken with fatty substances and deposits of cholesterol known as plaque, slowing the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and increasing the risk of a stroke.

Kirchner, 60, is a congressman and leader of the ruling party, was recently chosen as president of the Unasur group of South American nations and has all but declared that either he or his wife will run for again president in 2011.

Kirchner will "progressively resume his customary duties over the course of the week," said presidential spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro.