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Czech Leader Released From Hospital

February 22, 1998

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) _ Czech President Vaclav Havel was released from a hospital Sunday, five days after throat surgery, the CTK news agency reported.

Havel was expected to stay at home for at least a week to fully recover, the news agency said.

The 61-year-old president was hospitalized with a viral infection on Feb. 12. In an operation lasting just over an hour Wednesday morning, doctors closed a tiny crack in his trachea.

Air and some phlegm had been penetrating the crack, causing inflammation and a source of possible future infection, doctors said.

The crack, located on a scar from an earlier tracheotomy, may have been caused by coughing, doctors said.

Havel underwent surgery for lung cancer in December 1996. After the operation, in which one-third of his right lung and a half-inch malignant tumor were removed, doctors had to perform a tracheotomy to help him breathe.

Havel’s hospitalization was his second in the last four months; he was in hospital for two weeks with pneumonia in November.

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